Dust settles in classrooms across Hardin County as they have emp­tied for the summer. Joyous students have been liberated from the obligation of homework assignments, pop quizzes and grueling tests, if only for the short hiatus that summer break provides. What adult can’t remember the excitement summer break delivered during childhood years?

But today, unfortunately, not every student welcomes the reprieve these summer weeks provide from the academic responsibilities of the school year.

For many, the lunch period in the school cafeteria provides the best – if not only – nutritious, well-balanced meal of the day. Without it, hunger along with added stress and anxiety can rise for these food insecure young people in our community.

Summer food service programs offered within both Hardin County Schools and Elizabethtown Independent School districts fill the gap that otherwise would exist.

Paid for through reimbursements from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the locally administrated programs provide ongoing nutritious meals through multiple convenient times and locations free of charge for children age 18 or younger. Adults also may purchase a meal served for an affordably low cost.

Hardin County Schools will serve meals from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. each weekday now to July 26 this summer in cafeterias at North Hardin High School, John Hardin High School and Central Hardin High School.

The school system also will add a second Cruisin’ Café mobile food unit that will make food available remotely for 20 minutes each day during the period at eight neighborhoods in the district.

Locations and time can be found under the Cruisin’ Café link on the district’s website at www.hardin.k12.ky.us. Adult meals are available for purchase for $3 at each cafeteria and mobile location. No meals will be served on the Independence Day holiday.

Elizabethtown Inde­pen­dent Schools will serve both breakfast and lunch this summer weekdays from now till July 26.

The cafeteria of Morn­ing­side Elementary will serve breakfast from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. while lunch will be made available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. A second lunch service will be provided at the Elizabethtown Aquatic Park from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Adults can purchase meals at these locations for $2. No meals will be served at these locations from June 29 to July 7.

EIS Nutrition Services Director Mike Sallee said meals also will be delivered to additional locations in Elizabethtown through new partnerships the district organized with various groups. Information on these locations and service times can be obtained by calling the district’s central office at 270-766-1231.

Both districts, their respective boards and administrators are commended not only for continuing the summer meal programs, but certainly for expanding hours and locations. The community organizations that are partnering with EIS this year provide are deserving of thanks, too.

Food insecurity and the hunger that comes with it doesn’t end with the conclusion of the school year. Through these programs, the nutritional support of at-risk children will be met as they enjoy their summer break.

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