By Ken Ross, Managing Editor
Cherokee students don't have to spend a summer without hot school lunch. The school will be serving free lunches Monday through Friday at two locations between June 1 through Aug. 12, except for July 4.
Tracy Knebel, food services director, was present at the Cherokee School Board meeting on Monday to request approval for the summer food program, with reimbursement to come from a federal grant.
Knebel explained that the district qualifies for the free meal program because the two locations at which the meals will be served, the Roosevelt Elementary School building and the Early Childhood Learning Center (Webster building) are in low to moderate income level areas.
All students age 18 and younger qualify. None are charged anything for the meal. Students simply need to show up to get a meal.
The times of serving will be between 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Roosevelt building and from 11:30 to 12:15 at the ECLC building.
Knebel said that the grant was approved for up to 200 students, which is higher than the anticipated use during the first year but the upper limit needs to be applied for because the program will not reimburse any meals beyond what is stated in the grant.
"No one will be sent away hungry," Knebel said, "Everyone who comes will be given a meal."
Knebel said that for simplicity, the menu will be repeated on a five day cycle, with exactly the same main course and vegetables repeated weekly. She said the meal on the first day will likely be a cold meal, such as ham and cheese sandwiches, before she gets an idea of how many students will be participating.
During the school year, the district provides meals for the Bright Beginnings Preschool and Day Care located in the same building as the ECLC. The day care continues to operate in the summer and is expected to account for 40 meals daily for the summer lunch program.
Knebel said the summer lunch program does well where it has been established and participation grows after the first summer.
The board approved participation in the program.