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The Lunch Bunch

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Summer meals program keeps kids connected over long summer holidays

By Kelly Cantrall

By KELLY R. CANTRALL

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kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com

HARDIN COUNTY — Schools are closed for the summer, but that’s not keeping kids away.

Hardin County Schools’ summer feeding program is now under way. Children and their parents can have lunch at four HCS schools, and many other organizations pick up food to serve for their summer programs.

Lunch is served between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. weekdays at Parkway Elementary School and North Hardin, John Hardin and Central Hardin high schools. The meal is free for those under 18, and $3.25 for adults.

In the first week, the four sites attracted about 500 diners a day, said Mary Kuhn, HCS director of Child Nutrition. For the past three years, the program has averaged about 1,000 a day by the end of the summer. The program continues to pick up participants as the summer progresses.

The program runs until July 31, with the exception of a day off, July 3, in observance of Independence Day.

The program ensures children have lunch during the summer and provides summer employment for cafeteria workers. It’s also a way for people to benefit from the federal taxes they pay, Kuhn said.

“Taxes fund it, so it’s a way to bring some of the taxes we pay back into the community,” she said.

Karen Welcher is a cafeteria monitor for the school district and is working with the summer program this year. She enjoys it because she sees students from many schools, she said. And she knows it provides a necessary service, “because you are feeding the children.”

“That’s our goal, is to feed the kids,” she said.

Trish Morton, president of Parkway’s Parent-Teacher Association, eats at the Parkway site most days, she said. She was there with her daughter, Cheyenne, on Monday. She said Cheyenne enjoys seeing her friends there, and it keeps parents in touch, too.

“It helps keep us in contact with families over the summer,” she said.

Kelly R. Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747.