Summer food program serves over 11k meals
Posted Friday, Sept. 6, 2019 —
School may come to an end when the last bell rings in June, but that doesn’t mean the school cafeteria is closed for business.
The district’s School Nutrition Department served up 8,596 lunches, 3,053 breakfasts and 4,136 snacks free of charge to children in Geneva this summer.
“We have a lot of kids in this district that may not get those meals while their parents are at work during the summer,” said School Nutrition Director Gerry Barker. Free meals are available every summer to all children 18 and under, as well as those 21 and under who are mentally or physically challenged. The meals and snacks were offered this year at North Street School, both Boys & Girls Club locations, and the Geneva Public Library.
Tammy Jensen, one of seven School Nutrition employees working during the summer, packed the meals in the morning and served lunch at the public library. “You get to see all the kids and you get to talk to them all,” said Tammy, noting it makes for fun summer work. “A lot of them I know already.”
“I just think they are grateful to have something,” said Cook Manager Beth Mateo, who joined Tammy every morning of the program preparing and packing food. Serving the food at North Street were Marie Carney and Lupetia Guererri, while Boys & Girls Club employees served the meals at those locations.
“Food is a basic necessity and the kids know it,” said Chris Lavin, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club. “Those who have food insecurity at home are quite mature about identifying the sources of food that are regular, that they can regularly count on, so I see from them great appreciation and nervous reliance,” he said. “They need to know and we reassure them that it’s going to keep coming.”
“I’m sure there’s something in there that will fill their bellies,” said Beth.
The program is made possible through state and federal funding.