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Twin Cities school meal programs feed kids all summer long
As school bells ring signaling the end of the school year, St. Paul public schools nutrition services continues to provide meals for children across the city.
“We don’t want there to be a time during the summer when kids aren’t eating,” said Amy Thering from nutrition services. “With the economic climate, this may be the only meals they receive.”
The summer food service program, funded by the USDA, allows all children aged 18 and under to enjoy free meals at 86 locations in St. Paul. Also eligible are those 19 and older with disabilities who attend school. Locations include schools, park and recreation centers, and community sites.
Where to go for summer meals in Minneapolis and St. Paul
For the location nearest you, visit St. Paul public schools nutrition services
Three meals—breakfast, lunch, and dinner—plus snack will be available from June 20 through August 26. To host meals, program sites had to first apply through St. Paul public school’s nutrition services.
Dawn George, from nutrition services, explained that they send out monitors to train each site on such topics as food safety, how to set up a meal line, and staffing needs. When the program begins, nutrition services will also ensure that meals are open to all children and that other regulations are being followed. St. Paul public schools has run this program for 25 years.
“St. Paul nutrition services encourages kids to make healthy choices with whole grains, fresh fruits, and fresh vegetables,” Thering said. For example, breakfast includes cereal, graham crackers, yogurt, fresh fruit, 100 percent juice, and milk. Snacks feature whole grain breads like lemon poppy seed and banana chocolate chip, along with fruit and milk or juice. Food items, such as bread and deli sandwiches for lunch, are made at nutrition services and then delivered via truck to the various locations.
Last summer a total of over 350,000 meals were served. This year, Thering sent out a call to all children and teens in St. Paul: “Find a site near you and go have a meal.”
© 2011 Andrea Parrott