Even though school is not in session, members of Mansfield ISD Student Nutrition Services are making sure children still have access to nutritious meals and snacks.
The Healthy Summer Meals for Kids program allows any child 18 years and younger to receive a free breakfast and lunch. MISD started participating in the federally-funded program five years ago because staff members thought it would be a great help to the community.
“Summer is a very expensive time for families. I know that first hand as a mom of four,” explained Rita Denton, director of student services at MISD. “Kids are using a lot of energy. They’re running and playing extra hard, so to have that nourishment through the day is crucial.”
The free nutritious meals include protein, grains, fruit, vegetables and milk. All children must select a fruit and/or vegetable, and all meals must be eaten on site. Adult meals are also available for purchase.
This year, MISD has seen its most successful year, serving more than 73,000 summer meals to families to date. Parents like Chelsea Camp said the program has been a relief while her children are at home.
“We are really thankful for the summer feeding program,” said Camp. “It’s helped us save on our grocery budget, which we’ve been very happy about.”
The Healthy Summer Meals for Kids program runs until Aug. 2. There is no application or income verification required.
Denton said she sees great things for the future of the program, including some options to make the program more mobile.
“How great would it be if a food truck, a Mansfield ISD Student Nutrition food truck, rolled in to a park location and had free meals for kids!” she said.