Summer food services again offered in L-C Valley

Lewiston School District employee Teri Roberts hands lunches to Kalen Kelly, 13, mother Janelle Kelly, and sister Clare, 10, at Jenifer Middle School on Tuesday. The Lewiston and Clarkston school districts are once again offering free grab-and-go meals this summer.

The school districts in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley are continuing their summer food service programs by offering free grab-and-go meals to children 18 years and younger.

In Lewiston, grab-and-go meals will be available 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every weekday except July 5, which is a district holiday for Fourth of July celebrations.

McGhee and Orchards elementary schools will provide breakfast and lunch to children at their main entrances until Aug. 13. Jenifer Middle School will offer meals at the east side of its gymnasium until Aug. 6. Children can pick up meals at any school regardless of whether they attend it during the school year.

In Clarkston, the program begins Monday and ends Aug. 13. Children or parents can pick up breakfast and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to noon at Clarkston High School’s entrance on Sixth Street or 12-12:30 p.m. at Grantham Elementary.

The number of summer meals provided in the area nearly doubled last summer in comparison to previous years, said Jodi Hoff, food service supervisor for the Lewiston School District. The increase is likely because of the rise in food and financially insecure families.

“It’s basically lunch for the day they’re picking up the meal, and then breakfast for the following morning,” Hoff said.

About 145 meals were handed out Monday at McGhee Elementary, which is consistent with the numbers from last summer, Hoff said. Before COVID-19, only about half that number of meals were needed.

Last year, about 150 meals each day were picked up at Clarkston High School and 60-80 were collected at Grantham Elementary, said Amy Kimberling, food services director for the Clarkston School District.

Kimberling said she thinks this year’s numbers will be lower in Clarkston.

“I think the need was obviously still there, but there were quite a few more resources to those families too,” she said.

Similar to last year, drive-through and pick-up options are available at Clarkston’s sites, she said.

“Pretty quick turnaround, with each site only being open a half an hour each,” she said. “But we staggered them, so that hopefully helps.”

The Lewiston School District offered all students free breakfast and lunch during the 2020-21 school year. The number of students partaking in free breakfasts increased, Hoff said. There was also a slight increase in those eating free lunches.

Clarkston’s school district also provided free breakfast and lunch, Kimberling said.

The summer food service program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which reimburses public schools for the cost of meals and labor, Hoff said.

The program was created to bridge the gap during the summer months for students who rely on school meals during the school year, Kimberling said. The Clarkston School District has participated in the program for over 20 years.

More information about Lewiston’s summer food service program, including the summer menu, can be found on the school district’s website, lewistonschools.net.

Carral may be contacted at jcarral@lmtribune.com or on Twitter at @jaycecarral.