KUSD to dish out free meals to kids during summer
Everyone 18-and-under qualifies for USDA program
KINGMAN - Summer marks the end of tests, homework, early morning walks to school and free or reduced-priced meals. Most kids can do without tests and homework, but none of them have to go without food.
This summer, where a child gets her next meal during weekdays should be less of a worry because the Kingman Unified School District is offering free meals as part of the USDA Summer Food Service Program.
Director of KUSD Food Services Paula Loomis said the program has been around for years, but this is the first year for Kingman. She will be reimbursed $2.72 by the Arizona Department of Education for every meal served. That pays for the food and labor, she said. The process is very closely audited, and the ADE turns to USDA for the free summer food funding. She does not anticipate meals costing KUSD more than $3.
How much Loomis gets back depends on how many kids show up to eat. If it goes well, Loomis hopes to expand the program to include breakfast next year.
"If I break even, I will be tickled pink," Loomis said.
Cafeteria employees who traditionally do not work during the summer will get a chance to make an extra buck or two.
Loomis has five employees helping in June, and in July she plans to add two more. Lunch preparation will take place at KUSD's central cafeteria, and meals will be transported out to the three sites where lunches will be offered.
Loomis wants to make it clear that KUSD Food Services is an equal opportunity provider.
From June 6 to July 29, anyone 18-and-under can get a free meal between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.
These meals will be served at the Boys and Girls Club on 301 N. First St., at Kingman Middle School on 1969 Detroit Ave. and at Manzanita Elementary on 2601 Detroit Ave.
Unlike free school lunches, these meals do not carry income requirements. Adults can get a bite to eat as well for $3.
Meals will consist of everything from turkey wraps, cheeseburgers and various types of fruits to pizzas, chicken fajitas and meatball sandwiches.
The one stipulation: All food must be eaten at the site where served.
As a way to celebrate the meal program, a summer lunch kick-off party is going down from 6-9 p.m. on June 4 at the downtown pool on Grandview Avenue.
There will be a disc jockey playing tunes, free food, prizes awarded for answering questions related to nutrition and, of course, swimming. If that is not enough incentive, admission is free.