Summer program feeds kids for free

Q: Is the Summer Food Program being offered again this year?

A: Yes – and with the rising costs of food and gas, we anticipate there will be more interest in this free meal program than ever before. Yet I always say this is the best-kept secret in Lawrence. Even though we are approaching the 12th year that Lawrence has offered the Summer Food Program, it still amazes me how often I share information with families who have never heard of it. And it really surprises me that we don’t get more teenagers to come and eat. I think the key to increasing the teenage participation is to get a bunch of friends to hang together and come as a group.

Free meals are available to all youths 18 and under. (An adult must accompany anyone under the age of 4.) Any adult may also purchase lunch for $2.75 and breakfast for $1.50. There is no paperwork, no fee, no registration, no proof of income and no proof of age. And no, they don’t have to qualify for the reduced or free lunch school program in order to participate. They just walk in and eat – what a deal! The only requirement is that they must eat the food on site.

The program will be offered from noon to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday in five locations in Lawrence. Breakfast (served only at the Boys & Girls Club and Pinckney and Cordley schools) will be offered from 8:15 a.m. -8:45 a.m.

From June 2 to Aug. 1, lunch will be offered at South Park Recreation Center, 1141 Mass. From June 2 to July 25, lunch will be served at East Lawrence Recreation Center, 1245 E. 15th St.; Boys & Girls Club, 1520 Haskell Ave.; Pinckney School, 810 W. Sixth St.; and Cordley School, 1837 Vt. All programs will be closed July 4.

The approved sites meet the qualifications in which at least half the children in the area are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. However, once the site is approved, any youths between the ages of 1 and 18 can get a free meal.

If you have additional questions about the Summer Food Program, just call me at 843-7058 or e-mail