School districts, dairy farmers addressing metro kids’ summer food insecurity issues

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LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — No more pencils. No more books.

The school year wrapped up for the year in several metro school districts on Friday, including in Blue Springs, Raymore, Lee’s Summit and North Kansas City. Many other school districts had already completed classes for the year.

However, some families are left to wonder what their kids will eat during the summer months, as they depend on daily school lunch programs, many of which are free and reduced, to feed their kids.

Food insecurity is still a concern for students in many metro school districts.

The Lee’s Summit School District kicked off summer on Friday, and its no cost summer meal program begins on Monday.

Lori Danella said she expects to feed 50 to 100 kids per day at Meadow Lane Elementary School. Danella said her menus are already built for the next few months, as she expects to deliver as many as 3,000 means per day for hungry kids at five sites.

She said Meadow Lane is the only one feeding young people at no cost.

“It’s the district’s and our department’s responsibility to make sure our community children are fed during the summer also. Food insecurity doesn’t go away during the summer months. It’s there all year long,” Danella said.

Anyone under age 18 can get lunch or breakfast at Meadow Lane Elementary School for free. Danella said adults who join those kids can dine for only $3.25.

“We would be happy to serve 500 or more. We have the capability of doing that. We welcome any student to come in,” Danella said.

While they eat, those students will likely reach for milk. That’s where Dairy Farmers of America serves up its finest, while asking for the public’s help.

Kristen Coady, a spokesperson from the organization, showed off a series of kiosks — ATMs, as the group named them — which will be placed in Kansas City’s River Market this Saturday.

That occasion, World Milk Day, and the kiosks will allow users to post quickly to social media. Coady said for every post or retweet using the hashtag #givemilkmoney, DFA will donate a gallon of milk to Harvesters.

Coady said as many as 100,000 students in the metro are affected by food scarcity.

“This helps during the summer because when school are out, kids who are on free and reduced lunches aren’t getting the proper nutrition because it’s not available to them. Food banks don’t have everything they need to supply them the nutrition they need,” Coady said.

The USDA offers a free service that will help parents find free summer meal programs. Text the words “summer meals” to 9779, and that government agency will send you options to feed kids this summer.



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