Summer meals offered at Rodgers, Violet elementaries

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published June 8, 2016

Sara Robinson/Shutterstock

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — Expanding the program for the summer of 2016, Lake Shore Public Schools will continue to offer free summer meals to any child.

Because of construction expected on Masonic Boulevard this summer, the Michigan Department of Education Summer Food Service Program is moving from Masonic Heights Elementary to two other schools in Lake Shore Public Schools this year: Violet and Rodgers elementary schools.

At Violet Elementary, 22020 Violet St., breakfast will be served 8-9 a.m. and lunch 10:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m. weekdays June 20-Aug. 12. They will also serve lunch only Tuesdays-Thursdays Aug. 16-25.

At Rodgers Elementary, 21601 L’Anse St., breakfast will be served 7-9 a.m. and lunch 10:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays June 20-Aug. 12. 

The locations are closed July 1 and 4.

“It’s free for kids, and you don’t have to be a resident in St. Clair Shores or anything. It can be anybody, anywhere,” said Tina Morris, food service director at Lake Shore Public Schools. “We like to make sure that summertime isn’t hungry time. A lot of our students get free and reduced lunches. We’re looking to make sure that some of those kids or other kids in the district are able to eat lunch so they don’t have to be hungry or wonder where their meals are coming from.”

The meals are made possible through the federal school lunch program. Schools qualify based on a percentage of students who during the school year receive free or reduced-price lunches. The district is reimbursed for the cost of the meals and works to make sure it is not overproducing meals so that the program sustains itself each year.

Morris said that the number of children taking advantage of the free meals varies from day to day, but she’s hoping with some summer camp programs being held at the two schools that more children will be served by the program this year.

“We have a Kinder Connect that’s happening over at Violet, and then we also have a cultural camp that happens over there as well. Over at Rodgers, we have a daycare ... program, so we’ll be able to feed them this year as well. It does benefit our district,” Morris said. 

The meals are free for any child and are similar to what students are offered in the hot lunch line throughout the school year. Parents can eat with their child for $3.15. 

“Last year, one parent was like, ‘I am just so glad that this program is here,’” Morris said. “Summer can be expensive for parents, too, because they’re home.”

The summer food program has grown throughout Macomb County over the past several years, said Carolyn Thomas, the food service consultant in the  child nutrition program at the Macomb Intermediate School District. In 2012, there were fewer than 20 sites offering the summer meal program, and for 2016 there are nearly 60 locations serving free meals for children, including schools, churches, parks, community centers and libraries.

“The summer food programs are important for our county because when school is out and children don’t have access to the healthy meals that are served at breakfast and lunch in the school year, there’s an increase in childhood food insecurity,” Thomas said. “They’re more at risk during the summer.”

Those wishing to find the site closest to them where the meals are served can call 211 or text FOOD MI to 877877.

Morris said they will have the playgrounds open for the children to play after eating, and also will try to have coloring books and crayons available for an activity if it’s raining.

For more information, visit www.lakeshoreschools.org/food-service.html.

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