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FORT LUPTON — Both kids and parents alike, hungry for some summer camaraderie and a balanced meal, have been coming by the hundreds this summer for the free lunch program at Fort Lupton High School.
The USDA is sponsoring the fourth annual incarnation of the program at the school, which provides a nutritious lunch to any kids under the age of 18 while also offering parents of those kids or other adults a discounted meal at the nice price of just $3.
“There is no paperwork for the families,” said Mindi Wolf, food service coordinator of Weld Re-8 School District. “They just show up and get the free lunch.”
“The lunch program is amazing and just brings in so many people from all over the community,” added Scott Graham, the district’s executive director of support services. “It’s been a really big thing for the community and helps so much, because some of these kids don’t always eat dependably during the summer.”
For some parents, the program not only provides a good meal for the kids, but also gives Mom or Dad a break during those busy summer months when children are underfoot instead of behind a school desk.
And for Stephanie Sanders, who was enjoying a lunch with three of her children and two neighbor kids on a warm June afternoon, the Free Lunch Program also serves as an opportunity for her kids to catch up with some of those schoolmates they might not otherwise see too often during break.
“Most of the people you see here are people you would see during the school year anyway, and so the kids get to see some of their friends they wouldn’t normally,” she said.
Sanders said the free lunch also helps the pocketbook, particularly when it comes to fruits and veggies.
“I like that they get their fruits and vegetables because it can be hard to afford that stuff,” she said.
The program also has piqued the interest of a pair of Weld Re-8 school board members, who commended the program and the efforts of those behind it at the district’s June 26 meeting.
“I’ve been going to the summer lunch program we have and they’ve been serving over 100 people every day,” said Janice Wilkin. “It serving our students as well as our parents.”
“To piggyback off what Janice said, I talked to some little kids who were at Vacation Bible School this week and they’ve been going to the Free Lunch Program,” added board member SuzAnn McCrumb. “They love it, and they’re all going as a family. I think it’s great that they are able to do that as a family unit, and they’re really enjoying it. It’s a good program.”
Contact Staff Writer Jeremy Johnson at 303-659-2522, ext 217, or firstname.lastname@example.org.