Rowan-Salisbury Schools releases June Summer Meals numbers
By Rebecca Rider
SALISBURY — In just 13 days of operation, Rowan-Salisbury Schools’ Summer Meals Program has provided nearly 30,000 meals to local children.
The program delivers food to Rowan County children throughout the summer, when many lack access to regular meals. It is federally funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is free to children ages 3 to 18.
This year, Summer Meals is serving children at more than 90 sites in Rowan County. Many of those locations are open to children regardless of whether they attend Rowan-Salisbury Schools.
According to Meredith Honeycutt of the school system’s child nutrition staff, the Summer Meals Program served 19,188 lunches to area children in June.
“June has come and gone, and Independence Day is upon us,” Honeycutt wrote in an email. “The days are long, the temperatures are hot and RSS Summer Meals is in full swing.”
The program began June 13 and runs weekdays until Aug. 16. This year’s number is roughly on par with June 2017, during which 19,621 meals were served in just 12 days.
However, both years were down compared to June 2016, where food nutrition workers provided 22,694 lunches in 14 days.
While June’s numbers are holding steady, the program has seen increased total growth each year. In 2015, the Summer Meals Program served 80,000 meals over the course of the summer — 12,000 more than 2014’s total count. In 2016, the program served 135,999 meals.
Many sites also serve breakfast. In June, the program served 9,415 breakfasts and handed out 2,282 snacks.
According to Honeycutt, the program has grown each year as more sites are added. To qualify for a site, a neighborhood or area must have a certain percentage of students who qualify for free and reduced-price lunch. Currently, more than 60 percent of Rowan-Salisbury students qualify, and several area schools offer universal breakfast and lunch.
Meals are delivered by truck and must be eaten on site under the eye of a site supervisor. The district also has two renovated school buses that go out to rural areas and allow children to eat on board.
The program was suspended for the Fourth of July holiday. Meals will resume Monday.
Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.
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