The Arizona Department of Education’s Summer Food Service Program is up and running across the state. The program is open to everyone under 18 years of age, regardless of age, race, income, or disability, and provides food to Arizona’s students during the summer vacation period.
We visited during the first week of operation for the Flagstaff program Arizona Department of Education (ADE) employees Lindsay Talbot and Satiria Clayton were onsite from Phoenix to facilitate in the event of any unexpected problems. The program appeared to be off to a smooth, if busy, start.
We dropped by Marshall Elementary School, where students snacked on hot meals of macaroni in meat sauce, steamed broccoli, with oranges and their choice of milk.
Members of the Family and Community Teaming for Schools (FACTS) kept more than one hundred kids entertained and fairly orderly as they waited for their lunches in the school gymnasium. This as a tall order, given all of the first-day excitement, and an estimated 140 kids expected to take part in the lunch program today.
Not all of the programs are so big. We stopped by the Flagstaff Library, where librarian Suzanne Martin expected to provide 40 lunches. On the other hand, some are much larger. The last stop of the day, Kinsey Elementary provides 400 lunches to children, Monday through Friday.
PARTNERS IN THE COMMUNITY
Many charitable and public volunteer organizations participate in ADE’s School Nutrition Program. Saint Mary’s Food Bank provides meals not just to students, but adults. In several of the Flagstaff schools, they provide meals for the parents of students.
HOW YOU CAN PARTICIPATE
For those who wish to make use of the School Nutrition Program, the Flagstaff Unified School District’s (FUSD) summer food program starts this week. The FUSD administers eight school food programs, at eight locations. You can also find out more by texting FOOD to 877-877. In addition to the eight locations administered by FUSD, there are another eight locations that are provided by private and charity organizations in the Flagstaff area.
For those interested in helping out, please contact the participating organizations or FUSD. There are many, many, ways to be involved in this important program to keep our Arizona kids happy and healthy.
School lunches are a primary source of healthy nutrition for many low income, foster, and homeless students, and providing funds for the program through the Department of Education allows Arizona to provide food during this gap period in locations designed to provide children with fun and safety.
This summer we’re making sure Arizona is full of happy faces, not hungry faces.