Meal program at Boys & Girls Club provides summer nutrition for local youths
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What: Free meal and snack provided by the Boys & Girls Club of Craig and the Moffat County School District.
When: The meal is served at 11:20 a.m. and the snack at 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday until Aug. 17.
Where: The Boys & Girls Club of Craig, 1324 E. U.S. Highway 40.
— MCSD will also offer a midday meal at 11:20 a.m. Monday through Friday at Sandrock Elementary School, 201 E. Ninth St., from July 30 through Aug. 17
Kim Maneotis said summer is a stressful time for parents in Craig.
“During the summer months when kids are home for three meals a day, that puts quite a strain on families,” said Maneotis, unit director for the Boys & Girls Club of Craig, 1324 E. U.S. Highway 40.
To help relieve that strain, the Boys & Girls Club has partnered with the Moffat County School District to offer a midday meal and afternoon snack Monday through Friday to any interested child in Moffat County younger than 18 years old.
Lunch prepared by MCSD food service employees is served at 11:20 a.m. and the afternoon snack is distributed at 3:30 p.m.
“It’s tremendous,” Maneotis said about the program, which is in its second summer. “It gives all kids an opportunity to have a hot, healthy lunch as well as a nutritious snack.”
Having access to nutritious food is a major benefit provided by the program, said Lissa Radman, an Americorps volunteer working at the club.
“The kids get a fully balanced meal,” she said. “They are going to get their vegetables, their fruit, their carbs and their protein.”
The actual meals vary, Radman said, with daily offerings ranging from sandwiches to nachos.
“And they’ll get fruit with that, and corn and milk,” she said.
Though the Boys & Girls Club does provide a snack and an evening meal to children during the school year through a partnership with the Food Bank of the Rockies, the difference during the summer is the partnership with MCSD, Maneotis said.
Due to that affiliation, the meal program is part of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program, which is designed to provide children from low-income areas with the same balanced meal the USDA provides during the school year, according to the program’s website (www.summerfood.usda.gov).
For an area to participate in the USDA Summer Food Service Program, at least 50 percent of the children residing there have to qualify for free or reduced-cost meals during the school year. However, as with the evening meal offered during the school year, any child in the area can go to the club during the summer and receive a free meal on a first-come, first-served basis regardless of their family’s economic situation, Maneotis said.
“Our doors are open to anyone, they do not have to be a Boys & Girls Club member,” she said.
Soon MCSD will provide a second location where local children can go to get a free midday meal. Starting July 30, MCSD food services will provide lunch to any child younger than age 18 at 11:20 a.m. Monday through Friday at Sandrock Elementary School, 201 E. Ninth St.
MCSD food services officials were not available for comment Friday, but Maneotis said having a second location is a benefit to the children of Moffat County.
“That’s fantastic,” she said.
Both locations stop serving the midday meal Aug. 17 in preparation for the start of the school year.
Along with benefiting local children, Radman said the meal program helps the Boys & Girls Club live up to its mission.
“We’re supposed to be a positive, fun, safe place for kids,” she said. “And we’re providing the healthy meals for them, which adds to a positive lifestyle.
“There is a need for it here, and we’re fortunate to be able to have this program and be able to provide for people in the community”
Maneotis echoed that sentiment.
“It’s a great program, it’s a great opportunity for our community,” she said “We’re just really blessed that we have so many people, not just in Craig, but outside of Craig that are offering a helping hand, helping our families work through these stressful economic times.”