Summer feeding program coming to Indian Creek

WINTERSVILLE — Hundreds of Indian Creek Local School students can continue to get nutritious meals after the school year ends as part of a summer feeding program.

The school district will implement the Seamless Summer Option program through the Ohio Department of Education and provide breakfast and lunch at Indian Creek High School and Hills Elementary to benefit kids in those areas, according to officials.

The free program is intended to feed children from low-income areas during traditional summer vacation periods, but the youth must have their own transportation to the sites, officials said.

District Food Service Director Eric White said district students can stop by the high school or Hills Elementary for breakfast at 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and lunch from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The program runs at Hills from June 5 through July 28 and at the high school from June 5 through Aug. 25.

“It is absolutely free. They have to have their own transportation, and this is for anyone under the age of 18,” White explained, adding two staff members will be at each site to serve the meals. “Everything is in place for us to get the ball rolling.”

White said the idea was suggested by district Assistant Superintendent John Belt, and this is the first time the district has participated; however, the program has been in existence for a while.

White noted he received some assistance on a grant from the Children’s Hunger Alliance of Columbus, which recently partnered with Indian Creek on another offering while school was still in session. This spring, the district established a Breakfast in the Classroom program that allows students to eat in class so they don’t lose out on classroom time.

It impacts more than 900 pupils between Hills and Wintersville elementary schools and the goal was to increase participation in the breakfast program by 20 percent. Hills qualifies for a free program through the government because the population has a higher poverty rate, while WES has been covered by the district.

“Four classrooms at Hills started doing Breakfast in the Classroom and it went up from 37 percent participation to between 87 and 90 percent being fed there. Wintersville Elementary also has four classes and theirs is between 80 and 82 percent. I was hoping for 75 percent, and I have classes at Hills where everyone is eating. It’s fantastic and the teachers at Hills love it,” he said.

Superintendent T.C. Chappelear is hopeful the summer program will benefit even more children.

“I’m just excited that we can participate in this program. I think it provides a great opportunity for our students to receive healthy, well-balanced meals throughout the summer months,” he said.

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