(KAIT) - A pair of Northeast Arkansas school districts will be providing meals to students in need this summer.
Jonesboro Public Schools and Newport Special School District, in cooperation with Aramark Food Services, will offer free meals to students from May 30 to August 4 on Mondays through Fridays. This is the second year for Jonesboro students to participate and the first for Newport.
Both districts are able to participate because 40 % - 50% of their students qualify for free and/or reduced lunches.
Becky Head, the district manager for Aramark, believes more school districts could follow suit to offer similar summer feeding programs next year. She currently oversees Aramark services operating in Valley View, Brookland, Trumann, Newport, Earle and Buffalo Island Central school districts.
In Jonesboro, the summer meals will be offered at MicroSociety Magnet School, MacArthur Junior High, Annie Camp Junior High, Success Academy, Parker Park Community Center, Allen Park Community Center and Walker Court Apartments.
Breakfast will be served from 7:30 – 8:30 a.m., while lunch is served form 11 a.m. until noon. Adult meals are available for $2 for breakfast and $3.50 for lunch.
The same hours and prices will also apply for the summer feeding program in Newport. Breakfast and lunch meals are available at Newport High School, Village Mall at 2301 McClain, IMAD at 412 Calhoun, and Oak Grove Baptist at 1604 Daugherty Street.
"For everything we do, we file a claim," Head said. "The state reimburses us with federal money. If we feed two or twenty… Nobody stands to gain money. If there is ever any extra money left over, it goes right back into the quality of the food."
Funding from the United States Department of Agriculture makes the reimbursement to school lunch programs possible. Head says the summer feeding program is valued by children and parents in the area.
"We had one little girl waiting outside a feeding program site when workers arrived last year," Head said. "The girl said, 'I'm so hungry.' Stories like this happen all the time. We see the benefit of the program at work."
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