By Greg Bird
The McCreary County School District is using a federal food program to offer students a hot and healthy meal for those participating in after-school enrichment programs and waiting for busses.
Food Service Director Mitzi Stephens wants to highlight the program that allows the District to provide nutritious after-school meals for elementary students through the federal Child & Adult Care Food Program.
“CACF allows us the opportunity to feed students who are in the schools after school hours,” Stephens said. “We have been offering this program for the past two and a half years, but we are partnering with Whitley City Elementary and Pine Knot Elementary this year to help feed those students who are waiting on a bus or participating in after-school enrichment. The participation so far this year has been exceptional.”
Stephens said the program has been in place since 2016, but the growth has been exponential. In the first year approximately 3,000 meals were served and expanded to 55,000 in the following year as it grew.
In the first month of the current school year alone more than 11,000 meals were served. The meals are funded through the federal program.
“Our cafeteria staff works so hard to offer this to the students,” Stephens said. “We offer this to everyone participating in an enrichment program.”
For the students waiting on busses, the schools have begun offering after-school tutoring and other enrichment to ensure they meet eligibility requirements under the program.
When it comes to feeding children, Stephens and her staff are not just focused on school days.
The popular summer feeding bus, which started this past summer to great success, will be back on the streets providing free lunches to children over the Thanksgiving break. On Wednesday November 27, and Friday November 29 the bus will be making stops at locations around the county to distribute free meals. The times and locations for the bus will be announced on the School District’s Facebook page in the coming weeks.
Anyone interested in learning more about either the after-school or bus programs can call the Food Service office at 606-354-2776.