To continue providing children with nutritious meals in the summer months, the Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County and the Watertown City School District offer the Summer Food Service Program.

The program, funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has been running in the county for nearly 30 years. It allows any child 18 years-old or younger to receive a free snack and lunch for six weeks of the summer — this year from July 1 to Aug. 16.

Mary J. Mathewson, family center director of CAPC, said there are nearly 30 sites children can go to sponsored by either CAPC or the school district, regardless of the child’s income status.

“We don’t ask for income, we just ask for the kids to come in and have a nutritious meal,” Ms. Mathewson said.

The hours and amount of weeks the program runs depends on the site, Ms. Mathewson said.

“Some sites run five days per week, some sites run three days per week and some sites do one,” Ms. Mathewson said.

The lunches typically consist of a sandwich, fruit, vegetable and milk, hitting the requirement of having the main food groups present on the plate.

All of the food for the meals are ordered around mid-June and then transported to the sites in coolers. Children are distributed meals by site supervisors, who served just over 780 children per day last year at the CAPC sites.

For the school district sites, breakfast and lunch is served at three of their fives sites, and just lunch at two, to about 500 children per day.

Ms. Mathewson said CAPC sites no longer offer breakfast because there wasn’t enough turn out.

“It was too early in the morning,” Ms. Mathewson said.

The district sites that serve breakfast are also where summer school programs are held, according to Colleen Rielly, school nutrition program director for the district, which helps get enough children.

Ms. Rielly said any child under 18 can receive the breakfast or lunch, though, regardless of if they are enrolled in a summer program.

“It’s just important to continue the continuity of healthy meals throughout the summer,” Ms. Reilly said.

For a full list of sites, visit the CAPC website at www.capcjc.org.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

Health, nonprofit and education reporter for the Watertown Daily Times.

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