The Morrow County School District is expanding its Summer Free Meals program this summer. The district is adding eight additional locations to increase access to free meals for children ages one year to 18 years of age. The focus of this program is to provide opportunities for children of all ages in Morrow County to be provided nutritious meals throughout the summer months.
The program, which is federally funded and is administered through the Oregon Department of Education, will have meal sites in Boardman, Heppner, Irrigon and Lexington.
Here are locations/schedule: English / Spanish
You can also visit the Summer Food Oregon website and use the map to find your local food program, text "food" to 877-877 or call 2-1-1 for information.
Sodexo is organizing the program, and five school district employees who work in food services during the school year have been hired for the summer. Last year, the Morrow County School District served free meals, but only during summer school sessions. Dirk Dirksen, district superintendent, said research supports the benefit of summer food programs through:
- decreased food insecurity
- improved physical health
- improved readiness to learn in school
- opportunity for families to purchase more nutritious food versus cheaper foods
“When the school year ends and summer arrives, children in our communities still need access to healthy meals. I feel strongly that none of Morrow County’s children should ever go without at least one nutritious meal every day,” said Dirksen.
The district held a district-wide contest for students to submit their ideas and artwork for the program name and slogan. The program is called “Wheels with Meals”, from Ms. Hodgdon’s class at Irrigon Elementary. Levi Whitmer from Mr. Schade’s class at Riverside Jr/Sr High had the winning slogan, “Feed a Smile.” Ms. Vanderpas’ class at Riverside, with students Luis Cardenas and April Mendieta, submitted the winning artwork.
Mid Columbia Bus Company has donated two buses that are being retrofitted for serving the food from and many community partners have contributed to the program. As the summer progresses, some educational activities will be available at the locations, as well.
For program updates, please refer to this district website or Facebook page.