WARSAW — With June only halfway over, the Warsaw Community Schools’ summer food service program is already seeing a larger attendance than in years past.
While attendance can depend on factors like weather and other activities going on at the same time, according to WCS Assistant Director of Food Services Stacie Light, this has not seemed to deter kids from coming out and enjoying a free lunch.
The program is available at two locations: Winona Lake Park in Winona Lake and Bixler Park, Warsaw. Attendance at Bixler Park yesterday, Wednesday, June 15, was 114. By around noon today, Thursday, June 16, 121 students had eaten. The Winona Lake location had 178 students this Wednesday and 198 last Wednesday. Fridays are typically slower, Light said.
Meal components include a fruit, vegetable, grain, meat and milk. Anyone age 1-18 is invited to eat for free. Parents are charged a $3.50 fee to cover their meals, which are not reimbursable by the state, Light said. Parents wishing to purchase a meal are asked to bring exact change.
Pre-registration is not required, however Light asks that large groups call ahead so the kitchen staff knows how much to prepare.
“Running out is such a disappointment,” Light said, adding that this happened at the beginning of this year’s program and not everyone who came that day got to eat a lunch. Meals had been prepared according to previous attendance numbers.
Often times, kids become regulars, so servers get to know names and faces.
“You get to learn their name and what they like, whether it’s white milk or chocolate,” Light said.
Meals are served at the following locations and times:
- 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, Bixler Park at Center Lake, 503 N. Detroit St., Warsaw
- 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, Winona Lake Park, 1590 Park Ave., Winona Lake
The program lasts through Friday, July 29. There will be no meals served the week of Monday, July 4, through Friday, July 8. By state regulation, food may not be served before or after the above-listed times. Other guidelines for summer food services are as follows:
- Meals need to be eaten at the designated site where they are served; only one fruit, vegetable or grain may be taken off site.
- One meal per child
- Adults may not share a meal, but must purchase a separate meal if they wish to eat.
- Items on a sharing table are for kids ages 1-18 only.
- Meal services may be canceled on a given day due to inclement weather.
- Kids and parents are asked to dispose of their trash properly before leaving.
A complete list of guidelines is posted at each meal site in both English and Spanish. By law, a non-discrimination statement is also posted at each site.