Cedar Ridge serves food to students, community for 'Seamless Sum - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Cedar Ridge serves food to students, community for 'Seamless Summer'

NEWARK, AR (KAIT) – Students know they'll get fed when school is in session, but now many districts have decided to serve meals during summer break, too.  

That's because hunger does not take vacations.

Recognizing a growing need prompted the Cedar Ridge School District in Newark to bring back its summer food program for the second year.

 "I love kids, and I hate the thought of a child being hungry," said Judy Tubbs, the district's child nutrition director.

Tubbs helped start the food program last year called Seamless Summer after noticing a trend.

"It seems like every year we get more free and reduced children," Tubbs said.

Tubbs estimates that almost 70 percent of the district's students now receive meals at a free or reduced rate. She can worry less now that some of them might go hungry this summer because of the food program's availability.  

"We serve food about anywhere from 85 to 100 students [each day], so we'd like to have more," she said. "That's been a joy to get to feed children and see that they eat."

Cedar Ridge secured a grant to provide two free meals to children five days a week. Staff members open the high school cafeteria Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. for breakfast and from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for lunch.

"Being a child that grew up here, started kindergarten here and graduated here," teacher Kelly Branscum said, "I would have for sure been one of those kids that walked up [to the cafeteria]. I know it's a blessing for these kids that are getting a good hot meal."

The menu varies each day – chicken strips on Monday; Salisbury steak on Tuesday; tacos on Wednesday; spaghetti on Thursday; and hamburgers on Friday.

These meals are available to anyone and everyone until July 26. People do not have to live in or attend Cedar Ridge School District to enjoy the food.

Children ages 18 and younger eat free, while adults have to pay $1.85 for breakfast and $3.10 for lunch.

"We're going to do this every year as long as there's a need in this district and in this county," Tubbs said.

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