May 25, 2013
Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
Throughout the school year children have access to nutritious meals, but during the summer many kids would go hungry if not for the Summer Food Service Program.
Started in 1991 by the Community Action Organization of Scioto County (CAO), the Summer Food Service Program is funded by a grant offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Ohio Department of Education. According to Louann Valentine of CAO, the program will serve 60,000 free meals to children in Scioto County from June 3 through Aug. 2.
“We setup different feeding sites throughout Scioto County, and children 1-18 years of age can come and eat at no cost to them. If the individual has a disability, they can eat up to age 21. The feeding sites are open for a half-an-hour,” Valentine said. “These are going to be nutritious meals. They do follow USDA guidelines, and they’re the exact makeup of a school lunch.”
Some sites will serve breakfast, some will serve lunch, and some will serve both.
“This is the third year we will also be offering the weekend take-home meals — what we refer to as ‘backpacks’ — so on weekends when the feeding sites aren’t open, the day before they will recieve meals to take home with them,” Valentine said.
Since beginning more than 20 years ago, the program has seen a dramatic rise in attendance. Beginning with just one feeding site, the program is now expanded to 28 sites in Scioto County and five more in Lawrence County. Sites in Scioto County are open June 3 through Aug. 2, unless otherwide indicated, and are located at:
Five sites this year will also include a fun physical activity once a week, with help from the Southern Ohio Medical Center’s Life Center. Those will be located on Mondays at 14th St. Community Center 12:45-1:45 p.m., Tuesdays at Miller Manor 1:45-2:45 p.m., Wednesdays at Lett Terrace 1:45-2:45 p.m., Thursdays at New Boston Manor noon-1 p.m., and Fridays at Wayne Hills 1:45-2:45 p.m.
Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.