Petal Summer Food Service program kicks off June 4By HASKEL BURNS,
If officials from the Petal School District have a say in it, no child in the Friendly City will go hungry this summer.
The district is set to kick off its annual Summer Food Service Program, which will run Monday-Friday from June 4 through July 13. During that time, various schools in the district will provide free meals to children under 18 years of age, while adults can purchase an on-site meal for $3.
Meals also are free to individuals over 18 years of age who have been determined by the state to be mentally or physically disabled and who participate in a public or nonprofit school program established for the disabled.
“Obviously we want to feed children,” said Danny Dillistone, director of the school district’s Child Nutrition Department. “There are children out there in the surrounding communities that may not get a regular meal.
“Petal School District has made a commitment to help feed our children when school is on break.”
Throughout the Summer Food Service Program, Petal Middle School and Petal High School will offer breakfast from 7:30-8:30 a.m. Participants will have a choice of sausage or chicken biscuits, cereal, and Pop-Tarts or cereal bars.
The middle school and high school will offer varying lunch menus from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., while Petal Upper Elementary School will serve supper from 4:30-6 p.m.
No applications, proof of income or proof of residency is required. The program will not be held on July 4.
Dillistone said the program is especially important this time of year because the summer months can be tough on family finances.
“According to a recent national survey of low-income families, 43 percent say it’s harder to make ends meet in the summer months,” he said. “Families spending more on food say that, on average, their grocery bills are about $300 higher every month when kids are out of school.”
The school district has hosted the Summer Food Service Program for 12 years. Over the last eight years, the program has grown from one operational site to 18 operational sites.
“Petal School District’s Child Nutrition Program served 56,881 various breakfast, lunch and supper meals last summer,” Dillistone said. “I think that shows that we are feeding some hungry children.”
For full menus, visit the Child Nutrition Department page on the school district’s website at www.petalschools.com.