|NEWS||Improving and Protecting the Health, Well-Being
and Self-Reliance of All Montanans.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936
Kalispell Summer Meal Program event for kids and teens is Tuesday, July 2
Free summer meals served at 4 sites across Kalispell
Kalispell Public Schools joined a diverse group of partners for an event to raise awareness the free summer meals program on Tuesday, July 2 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Woodland Park, 1 Woodland Park Loop, Kalispell, MT.
Remarks from Dan Zorn, Kalispell Public Schools Vice Superintendent, will take place at 11:30 a.m. The event also will feature Zumba for kids, face painting, seed planting, juggling, water games, and the Kalispell Fire Department is bringing a fire truck for viewing.
Montana Office of Public Instruction in partnership with Montana No Kid Hungry, Montana Food Bank Network and Share Our Strength® will help connect more area kids and teens to free summer meals programs by raising awareness about the program and making it easier for families to get to a summer meals site.
“For many kids, summertime means food, friends and fun. For families who count on school breakfast and lunch, however, the summer months can be stressful and family food budgets have to be stretched even further,” said Katie Wheeler, FoodCorps Service Member for the Kalispell School District #5. “During the summer, kids can also lose out on several months of learning and physical activity that they would normally get at school.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers free summer meals to kids across Kalispell similar to school lunch and breakfast programs, except meals are free to all kids ages 18 and younger who come to a summer meals site registered through the USDA. The No Kid Hungry Center for Best Practices reports that in Montana only 17 percent of children who receive a free or reduced-price lunch during the school year participated in free summer meal programs currently.
Lack of awareness about the program, stigma, and getting kids to a site that is near them and parents trust are just a few of the barriers families face, according to recent focus groups conducted by Share Our Strength.
“Summer meals programs are more important than ever before as families are struggling to make ends meet,” said Montana No Kid Hungry Manager Lisa Lee. “Families also face the stress of providing safe, supervised and affordable places for kids and teens to socialize, play and continue to learn during the summer.”
Many summer meals sites, which are registered with the USDA, offer fun learning and recreational activities so kids and teens can eat a healthy meal while staying active and hanging out with friends. Program details:
- Meals are FREE to children and teens ages 18 and younger who come to a summer meals site. Just show up, there’s no paperwork!
- Food served follows USDA nutrition guidelines and is paid for by the USDA.
- Summer meals sites are at schools, churches, community centers and other places that are safe for kids and teens to go to.
- Many sites offer educational and recreational activities that kids of all ages can participate in so they can eat, hang out with friends and take part in activities offered.
- Parents don’t need to apply to the program to get a free summer meal for their kids. They can just bring their child to a summer meals site in their community.
Kalispell has four total sites including Elrod School, Flathead High School, Woodland Park, and Meadow Manor where breakfast and/or lunch are served.
Summertime should be a stress-free time for parents and kids, full of food, friends and fun. Free summer meals can help. Families can learn more or find a site near them by going to www.mfbn.org/summerfoodmt or call 1-800-809-4752 or they can text “Lunch” to 877-877 to find a site near them.
WHAT: Event for the free summer meals program.
WHO: Dan Zorn, Kalispell Public Schools Vice Superintendent
WHERE: Woodland Park, 1 Woodland Park Loop, Kalispell, MT.
WHEN: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Guest speaker remarks will take place at 11:30 a.m.