Cleburne ISD’s Summer Feeding Program will begin Monday, providing free meal service for ages 1-18 at three locations.
Breakfast and lunch will be available at C. C. Cooke Elementary and Smith Middle School, where summer school is also taking place. Serving hours are 7:15- 8:30 a.m. for breakfast, with lunch available from 10:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, June 4-29.
Lunch, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. along with games and a movie, is on the menu at the CISD Child Nutrition Offices, 218 N. Ridgeway. This is the third year lunch has been provided at the 50s themed “diner” located within the Child Nutrition facility. The staff training room doubles as a movie theater during the Summer Feeding Program, featuring G-rated films.
Child Nutrition Director Kim Chance anticipates serving 350 lunches daily through the Summer Feeding Program. This includes 50 “customers” who come to The Diner.
“Last year we averaged 200 for breakfast between the two school campuses and I think we’ll see that same amount again,” Chance said. “Our menu for both breakfast and lunch is a lot like we serve during the school year. For lunch, we offer one entrée instead of the usual three, but it’s the same quality food, with fresh fruits and vegetables.”
Superintendent Dr. Kyle Heath believes the District’s involvement in the Summer Feeding Program, sponsored by the Texas Department of Agriculture, is of great benefit to many CISD families. The District meets the criteria required to offer the program, as more than 50 percent of its students are eligible for free/reduced price meals through the federal National School Lunch Program.
“For many of our students, breakfast and the hot lunch they receive at school are vital to their health and well being,” Heath said. “For some, these are the only nutritious, balanced meals they may receive. Our free breakfast program and free/reduced lunch program guarantees students have access to nutritious food at least twice a day.”
“When school is out for the summer, this has a definite impact on children,” he said. “Our participation in the Summer Feeding Program helps families in our community. In Texas, 18 percent of households are considered ‘food insecure,’ which means not everyone in the household has consistent access to good nutrition.”
Chance said with the summer meals prepared specifically for young diners she and her staff design kid-friendly menus.
“Our menus feature tacos, steak fingers, chicken nuggets and hot dogs,” she said. “During the school year we also cook for adults, so we serve lasagna, Salisbury steak, meat loaf, which are enjoyed by students and teachers alike. In the summer, we choose food items that we know are popular with our kids, although adults can also come and eat with their kids. Our lunch price for those over 18 is $3.50.”
With The Diner opening for customers Monday, Chance was busy organizing the games and activities which highlight lunch service at her location, along with developing a movie schedule.
“We’ve stocked up on our games, and offer a variety for all ages and skills, including card games and matching games,” she said. “They love Connect Four and they also like to color. We display their art work and at the end of the program, our walls are covered.”
Fridays at The Diner are dedicated to outside activities, with fun in the sprinklers, bubbles and sidewalk chalk.
“At our office, parents can check their child in and leave them here during the two-hours we serve,” she said. “They use this time to shop for groceries, see the doctor, get a pedicure, just have some down time. One of our parents attended a class at Hill College while her child enjoyed lunch with us. It’s a lot like Mother’s Day Out.”
Flyers on the Summer Feeding Program went home with students prior to the end of school. Information is posted on the CISD website and Child Nutrition page or call 817-202-1123.
CISD Child Nutrition Director Kim Chance sets the tables in The Diner at the Child Nutrition Offices on North Ridgeway, which is one of three locations for the Summer Feeding Program which begins Monday. Free breakfast and lunch will be available to children ages 1-18 at C.C. Cooke Elementary and Smith Middle School, with lunch, games and movies served up at The Diner.