NEWARK, AR (KAIT) – Students know they'll get fed whenschool is in session, but now many districts have decided to serve meals duringsummer break, too.
That's because hunger does not take vacations.
Recognizing a growing need prompted the Cedar Ridge SchoolDistrict in Newark to bring back its summer food program for the second year.
"I love kids, and Ihate the thought of a child being hungry," said Judy Tubbs, the district'schild nutrition director.
Tubbs helped start the food program last year calledSeamless Summer after noticing a trend.
"It seems like every year we get more free and reducedchildren," Tubbs said.
Tubbs estimates that almost 70 percent of the district'sstudents now receive meals at a free or reduced rate. She can worry less nowthat some of them might go hungry this summer because of the food program'savailability.
"We serve food about anywhere from 85 to 100 students [eachday], so we'd like to have more," she said. "That's been a joy to get to feedchildren and see that they eat."
Cedar Ridge secured a grant to provide two free meals tochildren five days a week. Staff members open the high school cafeteria Mondaythrough Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. for breakfast and from 11 a.m. to 12:30p.m. for lunch.
"Being a child that grew up here, started kindergarten hereand graduated here," teacher Kelly Branscum said, "I would have for sure beenone of those kids that walked up [to the cafeteria]. I know it's a blessing forthese 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; andhamburgers on Friday.
These meals are available to anyone and everyone until July26. People do not have to live in or attend Cedar Ridge School District toenjoy the food.
Children ages 18 and younger eat free, while adults have topay $1.85 for breakfast and $3.10 for lunch.
"We're going to do this every year as long as there's a needin this district and in this county," Tubbs said.