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MCSD providing free summer meals for kids

T-R PHOTO BY LANA BRADSTREAM Kids at the YMCA Cultural Center get some cheese-stuffed breadsticks for their Friday lunch during the summer meal program through the Marshalltown Community School District. Also on the menu was fresh cantaloupe, applesauce, marinara and milk.

The Marshalltown Community School District (MCSD) is ensuring the youth will not go hungry during the summer months. Kids can get meals at no cost through the summer meal program.

MCSD Director of Food Service Lynn Large said the only new change to the program this year is that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is allowing non congregant options for rural areas. The premise of the USDA summer meal program is it is congregant, meaning children eat together and socialize on site.

“That’s a USDA rule,” she said.

The non congregant option is available when congregant meals are not available.

“So, we are going to do a to-go box kids can take home over the weekend from Miller Middle School,” Large said.

The to-go boxes will feature cold foods, such as wraps or sandwiches, foods that can be microwaved and others which are shelf-stable and can be placed in a cupboard or pantry if someone does not have a lot of refrigerator room.

Large has been involved with the summer food service since she started working for the district in 2013, but the program was implemented years prior. Since she came on board, more meal sites have opened.

Three locations — Lenihan Intermediate, the Veterans Memorial Coliseum and the YMCA Cultural Center — provide meals during the entire program, which runs June 3 through Aug. 30. The only exception is meals will not be served July 4 or July 5 in observance of the Fourth of July.

The beginning and ending dates of other sites do not stretch across the summer. Large said that is because the district operates off of the Bobcat University schedule for elementaries.

“Our most popular locations we have open all summer because we’re feeding large numbers of kids there,” she said. “Then the elementary schools are less walk-ins from the public, but we have a large number of students there.”

The summer food service is open for any child, no matter where they go to school. She said if someone has grandkids visiting this summer, those children can certainly get some meals at one of the locations.

During the summer, Large said the district has a particular meal pattern to follow which includes meats, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and low-fat milk. She said all of the meals will include those requirements.

Large said they try to make student favorites during the summer, such as chicken patty sandwiches, macaroni and cheese and walking tacos. The menus of the summer meals can be found on the website, marshalltown.nutrislice.com. She said that way kids and parents can decide beforehand whether or not they want to eat what the district is offering.

The summer program also gives MCSD food service workers an opportunity to flex their creativity. Large said her staff uses the summer months to taste test new recipes.

“This summer, we’re going to do like a deconstructed yogurt parfait box,” she said. “It has yogurt and granola and berries. If they don’t like it together, they don’t have to put it together. I’m excited about those. We’re going to do those for breakfast and in the to-go boxes.”

Some of the other new culinary delights awaiting kids include different wraps like chili verde chicken and cheese and garlic parmesan cheese. Large said they will also try some ethnic dishes, but she was not sure which ones. The dishes which are a hit will be incorporated into the school year meal plan.

Besides being able to discover which new foods Marshalltown youth would enjoy, she is primarily interested to see how many children they feed this summer. The district averages between 500 to 600 children fed per day.

“I’m hoping this summer maybe a few more will join us,” Large said. “We are open for any child, 18 years and younger, to have a meal with us. We would love for them to join us.”

MEAL INFORMATION:

The MCSD meal sites, times and beginning and ending dates are:

• Marshalltown Public Library, 105 W. Boone St.; Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to noon; ends Aug. 28;

• Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 20 W. State St.; 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; ends Aug. 30. No meals will be served July 4 or July 5;

• Y Cultural Center, 108 Washington St.; lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and snack from 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.; ends Aug. 30;

• Lenihan Intermediate Elementary, 212 W. Ingledue St.; breakfast from 8:15 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. and lunch from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.; ends Aug. 30. No meals will be served July 4 or July 5;

• Marshalltown High School, 1602 S. Second Ave.; breakfast from 7:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. and lunch from 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.; ends June 25;

• Miller Middle School, 125 S. 11th St.; breakfast from 8:15 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. and lunch from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.; ends July 11. To go boxes will be offered on Fridays between noon and 1 p.m.;

• Marshalltown Learning Academy, 1002 S. Third Ave.; breakfast from 7:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to noon; begins Monday and ends July 10. No meals will be served July 4 or July 5. No Friday meals will be offered beginning July 1;

Three sites will provide breakfast from 7:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. starting Monday and ending July 10. No meals will be served July 4 or July 5. The locations are Anson Elementary, 1016 S. Third Ave.; Rogers Elementary, 406 Summit St.; Woodbury Elementary, 8 N. Seventh Ave.;

Three sites will provide breakfast from 7:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. starting July 15 and ending Aug. 9. The locations are Fisher Elementary, 2001 S. Fourth St.; Franklin Elementary, 1315 W. Main St.; Hoglan Elementary, 2306 S. Third Ave.

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Contact Lana Bradstream

at 641-753-6611 ext. 210 or

lbradstream@timesrepublican.com.

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