Granite District Feeds Children in Summer
Oct 14, 2015 11:54AM ● Published by Jessica Thompson
The Granite School District, with financial help from the USDA, distributes 6,000 meals a day to 43 different sites to help feed children 18 years old or younger during the summer months. Photo Credit: Ben Horsley
By Jessica Thompson
Taylorsville - Within the Granite School District, over 50 percent of the families qualify for free or reduced-price school meals. During the school year, with the help of the USDA meal reimbursement program, schools within the district can feed those children a healthy, well-balanced meal at a price their families can afford.
With the help of the Seamless Summer Meal Program funded by the USDA, 6,000 healthy and exciting meals are distributed to 43 different sites in the summer to help feed children who live within the school district.
“Many families struggle to put food on their tables every day. Because of the high amount of poverty in some areas of our district, some kids do not eat at all. The Seamless Summer Program ensures that kids have an opportunity to eat something nutritious even when they are out of school,” Ben Horsley, director of communications for the Granite School District, said.
The Seamless Summer Meal Program menu is made to fit the nutritional guidelines of the National School Lunch Program, meeting the requirements in calories, saturated fat, trans fat and the sodium levels given by the USDA. The meals come in a variety of kid-approved dishes, such as whole-grain chicken nuggets, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Rib-B-Q on a whole-grain bun or a whole-grain corn dog, with side choices of fresh fruits and vegetables and a choice of white or chocolate milk.
All summer long, this program has seen children lined up, ready for their food the moment the meals get to their locations. The food is completely free to any child under the age of 18, regardless of each family’s income. This is a statewide program, with more than 200 meal sites across the state of Utah.
Last summer, more than a million meals were served to hungry children at these different sites, which is about 49,000 meals a day.
“We know that just because school is out for the summer, that doesn’t mean hunger stops. The Seamless Summer Program was designed to address the issue of hunger for any child in the district’s school boundaries,” Horsley said.
“When a child gives you a big smile and truly thanks you for filling their empty stomach, there’s no greater feeling,” Horsley said.