Schools Plan to Serve Summer Meals

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District wants to help keep Cleveland children fed during the summer by serving them breakfast, lunch and possibly supper for free.

The summer program, to be held at up to 28 schools, would be free for residents 18 and younger, regardless of whether they are enrolled in the District. Adults who accompany the children can eat for a small price. 

Serving summer meals could be the first step toward eventually making free and low-cost breakfast, lunch and supper available year-round at schools in one of the nation’s poorest cities, said Joseph Vaughn, executive director of food and child nutrition services.

While the District serves the summer meals, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank would handle administrative duties for the program. The two already work together on food pantries at five schools, with a grant from the Morgan Stanley financial services company.

“The Greater Cleveland Food Bank is happy to partner with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District this summer,” said Kristin Warzocha, president and chief executive officer of the food bank. “No one ever wants to see a child to go hungry. This is a great opportunity to support CMSD in their efforts to make sure that their students have nutritious meals throughout the summer.”

CMSD is finalizing the list of summer meal sites, most of which would offer breakfast and lunch. Hours will vary by location.

Some sites would limit meals to students who are attending summer school in the same buildings. Four high schools are hosting summer school but would still welcome the community.

Vaughn estimates the schools would serve 250,000 meals during the summer. The U.S. Department of Agriculture would reimburse the District for the cost of the meals, but Vaughn said: “This isn’t about making money. It’s about feeding children.”

Vaughn joined CMSD last year after overseeing food service for the Huntsville, Ala., schools. He started a similar program there and said it proved popular. 

The changes are the latest in a series for the food-service program.

Vaughn previously replaced prepackaged meals with dishes made from scratch and served cafeteria-style. He also added fat-free strawberry and chocolate milk to go with vanilla on the menu.

Through March, District cafeterias had served 2,300 more meals per day than during the same period a year earlier. For the year, milk consumption was up by 785,000 units.

Thomas Ott

Thomas Ott is director of the CMSD News Bureau

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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 5:10 PM, 05.05.2016