MOUNT VERNON — Many students participate in the free and reduced lunch program during the school year. A summer lunch program provides the same nutritional service and the opportunity to get some exercise at one of two city parks.
Riverside Park is one of the locations for the free lunch program, which provides lunch to children aged 18 months to 18 years old. The program is funded by a government grant, applied for by Nancy Bevan of the Mount Vernon City Schools.
Deb Shultz, one of the dedicated workers who prepares these lunches, said the program is geared towards children who receive reduced price lunches during the school year. The summer lunch program started with the concern of where those children would get meals during the summer. The program generally starts a week after school is out for summer and ends shortly before they return in the fall. This summer it will end on Aug. 10.
Though the program is for children, adults are able to purchase lunches for $3.
“Anybody is eligible for the program, people from out of the county as well,” said Shultz, and she mentioned the importance of families utilizing the program so funding will not be lost. Shultz explained that many types of families participate in the program, many of whom have been returning for several summers.
“Some people come who are able to have food in the house, some are in desperate need. ... I have grandparents who bring grand kids, baby-sitters, and one mother who has eight children.”