Making sure kids get fed healthy food is the goal behind “free meal” programs at school.
Making sure they continue getting healthy meals through the summer is the goal behind a federal grant that’s covering the cost of summertime free meal programs in communities across Montana.
Assistant Superintendent of the Kalispell School District Dan Zorn said this is the second summer running that Kalispell has received this funding. The U-S Department of Agriculture funnels money for the Summer Food Program to the states where it is distributed through the state Office of Public Instruction. Zorn said more than 45-percent of the students in the Kalispell School district alone qualify for free or reduced lunches during the school year.
“That’s not necessarily the poverty line, but it’s pretty darn close. So we’ve got a lot of kids out there in need, and this program they’ve put together with the summer food program is just a great example of the community, the state, coming together to try to serve the needs of those kids,” Zorn said.
In Kalispell, Flathead High School serves breakfast, Elrod Elementary serves lunch, and breakfast and lunch are available at Woodland Park at the ice skating rink.
You can text “lunch” to 877 877 to find a summer food program near your community. Meals are free for children 18-years and younger, and you don’t need to sign up. Organizers say you just need to show up to a registered sight, and kids eat free, no questions asked.