Hungry kids can get food

20 sites in county to offer free meals to youths this summer

Free, nutritious meals will be available to youth 18 and younger at 20 sites throughout Windham County this summer through the USDA Summer Food Service Program.

Meals will be served from mid-June through August at sites in Brattleboro, Bellows Falls, Grafton, Putney, Townshend, Westminster, and Wilmington, with many sites serving both breakfast and lunch.

Many participating summer camps will serve free lunches to their enrolled participants.

All four school supervisory unions in Windham County sponsor the program, as does Our Place Drop-In Center in Bellows Falls.

Following two years of sponsorship transition, the Hunger Council of Windham County writes that it is especially pleased that the Windham Southeast Supervisory Union has agreed to be the Brattleboro sponsor, overseeing and managing the area of the county with the greatest number of summer food program sites.

Windham Southeast School Superintendent Ron Stahley is quoted in a press release as saying the Brattleboro Town School District is excited about sponsoring this year's summer food program, and that he has seen firsthand the benefits of a quality summer food program for children in Windham County.

Café Services, food service provider for the Brattleboro Town Schools, has stepped up once again to provide meals this summer, Stahley said. The new program coordinator is Kira Sawyer-Hartigan.

“We believe with Kira's coordination, this year's program will be very successful,” Stahley said.

The Brattleboro Summer Food program served more than 20,000 meals in 2012. Nine hundred twenty-five youth participated countywide, an 8 percent increase over the previous year, according to the press release.

No paperwork, registration, or proof of residence is required for participation: meals are open and free to all kids 18 and younger.

Based on reimbursement, the more meals served, the more support is available to cover the costs of the program.

Brian Stone, president and CEO of Café Services, said that his firm will be working closely with the Windham Farm Network to bring delicious, nutritious, local foods to meal sites.

Additional community partners involved in the Summer Food Program include Academy School, Bellows Falls Middle School, Brattleboro Area Middle School, Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro, Brattleboro Parks and Recreation Department, the Clark/Canal Association, Grafton Elementary School, Green Street Pre-K Camp, Ledgewood Heights, Leland & Gray Union High School, Meeting Waters YMCA, Moore Court, New England Youth Theatre, Putney Central School, Rockingham Recreation Center, Saxtons River Recreation Center, Twin Valley High School, UVM Extension, Westgate, and Westminster Center School.

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