Three Eagle County schools serve free summer lunch | VailDaily.com

Three Eagle County schools serve free summer lunch

EAGLE — This summer, Eagle County schools are part of summer food service providing meals to children and families who need it.

InteGreat! is a coalition of 28 community organizations serving families in Eagle County.

The Summer Foods Service Program launched June 22 and provides summer meals to children of Eagle County. The program is designed to replace the school lunch program during the summer months.

Just over 42 percent of students who attend schools in Eagle County are eligible for free and reduced lunch, the criteria by which state and federal agencies define "at risk."

"Summer should be a fun and enriching time for our kids," said Jason Glass, superintendent of Eagle County Schools. "But for many, it represents a time when children are at the greatest risk of hunger, losing access to school meals and other support systems we have in place at our schools during the rest of the year."

The summer meals program is offered at three school sites: Avon Elementary School, Eagle Valley High School and Homestake Peak School.

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As "open sites," Avon Elementary and Eagle Valley High School will provide meals for free to any child ages 0 through 18, while Homestake Peak is considered a "closed site," meaning that service is provided only for students enrolled in summer programming offered at the school.

So far, more than 800 students enrolled for the summer meals program.

These combined with children participating in other summer activity programs throughout the county has organizers anticipating serving more than 15,000 meals this summer through the Summer Foods Service Program.

"For our pilot year, we worked with Eagle County schools to select locations that would be geographically and programmatically advantageous, so that we could serve the needs of the most children possible," said Melisa Rewold-Thuon, vice president of education with The Youth Foundation.

The summer meals program is funded by the USDA and is supported locally by the Colorado Department of Education and Hunger Free Colorado.

"One in five children in Eagle County struggles with food insecurity," said Nico Brown, of the Vail Valley Medical Center, a key participant on the organizing committee. "Each day, families in our community worry about having enough money to put quality, healthy food on the table. In order to ensure the success of our children in the Vail Valley, we must address these basic needs."

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

About the Summer Foods Service Program

Free lunch will be served from June 22-July 30 at both Avon Elementary and Eagle Valley High School, Mondays through Thursdays.

Kids and teens under 18 can eat for free, just by showing up.

Parents and community members may purchase lunch for $4.

Children participating in summer programming at Homestake Peak School will receive lunch and snacks for free.

Time of Service: Eagle Valley High School 11:30-12:15 (enrolled students) 12:15-12:30 (open to the community)

Avon Elementary School 12:00-12:15 (enrolled students) 12:15-12:30 (open to the community)

Families can find additional Summer Foods Service Program sites around Colorado throughout the summer.

Call the Hunger Free Hotline at: 855-855-4626 or visit: kidsfoodfinder.org.