Athens Review, Athens, Texas

June 14, 2013

Kids eat for free

AIS feeding program in progress

Jeff Riggs
The Athens Review

Athens — After more than 20 years, Athens Independent School District is again giving away free breakfast and lunch.

It’s all part of the Summer Feeding Program, which began June 10 and will continue through July 18 from Monday through Thursday of every week only at Athens Intermediate School, 307 Madole St., Athens.

Youth from zero to 18 years of age, who live in Henderson County, can eat free of charge with no identification necessary and no questions asked.  Adults 19 and over need to pay $3 per meal.

Breakfast starts each day at 7 a.m. and serving ends at 8 a.m. Lunch is served from noon to 1 p.m., a meal which is especially timely for children in summer school, according to AISD Director of Operations Barry Choate.

Choate said AISD has outsourced with Chartwell’s K-12, a management company for school food service, which is a part of Compass Group USA, based in North Carolina that administers the program over the entire U.S.

He said AISD has been with the company for three years, and it has paid off, with a fee imposed to the district of 3.5 cents per meal.

“Chartwell gave more opportunities than when we did it ourselves,” he said.  “We wanted more variety of what was served.  That makes participation grow.  It’s been better for the kids and for us.”

Traci Campbell, director of dining services for Chartwell K-12, was a 20-year AISD employee with one of her services at the district as the Summer Feeding Program.

“Today (Wednesday), we had about 100 at breakfast, and we’re scheduled for about 110 at lunch,” she said.

Campbell, who has been a Trinidad resident for the past three years, did not have her records at the time of the interview as to the cost of the service to AISD.  She did say that it cost a little more than last year, because of the federal regulations that have increased the amount of fresh fruits and fresh vegetables that must be served.

Reimbursement to AISD for the service comes from the U.S. Government.

As an example of the menu today, lunch will be hamburgers on a whole grain bun, oven-baked seasoned wedges, romaine lettuce blend and fresh orange wedges.

Breakfast was chicken and biscuit or assorted cereal with white wheat toast, assorted juice and choice of milk.

On Monday, June 17, breakfast will be breakfast pizza or assorted cereal with white wheat toast, assorted juice and choice of milk.

Monday’s lunch will be ham and cheese on whole wheat, carrots, fresh 1.6 ounce mixed fruit cocktail and seasoned spinach.

For the full menu through July 18, visit athensisd.net. Go down to the round starburst and click it. To get even more information about summer feeding, visit squaremeals.org.

People in other locations, inside or outside Henderson County, can call 211 to find out a location in their area.