The Warrick County Summer Feeding Program started up again this week for the eighth year in a row.
The free meals include breakfast and lunch, are open to the public and will be served at Chandler, Loge and Tennyson elementary schools respectively throughout the summer.
Allison Robinson, a nutrition specialist with the Warrick County School Corporation, said the program is funded by the USDA and is put on by the WCSC Food and Nutrition Department.
"Meals will be provided to all children ages 18 and younger without charge," she said, "and are the same for all children regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. There will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service."
Robinson said that adults may eat at the sites as well.
"But will be charged $1.50 for breakfast and $2 for lunch," she said. "Meals will be provided at a first come, first serve basis at the sites."
Breakfast is being served at Chandler Elementary School, located at 401 S. Jaycee St. from 8 to 9 a.m., from June 4 to June 29, and from July 16 through July 27, Monday through Friday. Lunch will be served at the same location from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. from June 4 to July 27, Monday through Friday.
At Loge Elementary, located at 915 N. 4th Street in Boonville, lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. from July 16 to July 27, Monday through Friday. At Tennyson Elementary, located at 323 N. Main Street in Tennyson, lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. from July 16 to July 27, Monday through Friday.
Robinson said program is being offered at these specific sites because the schools can't qualify for the free meals unless at least 50 percent of students need free and reduced lunches during the school year.
"And we have to hit that number once a year," she said. "That's why you won't see it in the Newburgh area."
Robinson said there is a much bigger need for the free meals in Chandler, Boonville and Tennyson.
"And with us having a need throughout the year," she said. "We don't want kids to go hungry through the summer."
Robinson said they have attempted to serve at other sites, but ended up having to close them down after losing money.
"With Studio Bee, we've lost money," she said. "And we had an outdoor site at City Lake that just went down hill. It's hard to keep it a float wherever you can't project what the weather is going to do, if anyone is going to be at the splash park."
Robinson said the school corp. gets reimbursed from the state based on each meal they serve.
"So we lose money when we estimate that 50 people are going to come and only 20 come. And we can't ask how many people are coming," she said. "Also, we typically do hot food, so it can't always be served the next day."
Robinson said the summer feeding program is essential to the children of Warrick County.
"Well it's important to be able to offer those kids who are in need meals throughout the summer," she said. "We are very sad when we have to shut down sites for people who are really counting on that."