Food for the summer

Published 10:17 am Friday, May 15, 2015

Mary Weikum

Director of Food and Nutrition Services

“To think that one child would go to bed hungry somewhere in this country is heartbreaking. To know how many do is virtually incomprehensible. This is not only a problem that exists in the far reaches of the globe. It happens right here in our own backyard. Together, as concerned citizens, we must do more to make sure every child’s needs are met.” — Katie Couric

Email newsletter signup

The USDA defines food insecurity as “consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year.” With nearly 60 percent of our students receiving free lunches during the school year, there is concern for our students in food insecure households, especially during summer months. Lack of nutrition in summer months may contribute to illness and poor health, as well as to poor academic performance once the school year begins. In 2014, according to the Minnesota Department of Education, almost 2.4 million lunches were served at no charge to Minnesota children ages 18 and under. Despite this, only 15 percent of needy children are reached with summer meals.

To help combat summer hunger, Austin Public Schools will be sponsoring the Summer Lunch Program for the eighth consecutive year. Any child ages one to eighteen is able to receive a free lunch at any of the sites listed below.  Adults can purchase a lunch for $3.70.

The following schools will be open to the public:

I.J. Holton Intermediate School, 1800 4th Ave SE, will serve lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. We will be open June 8 through August 28. There will be no service on July 3.

Sumner Elementary School, 805 8th Ave NW, will serve lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. We will be open June 8 through July 24. There will be no service on July 3.

Neveln Elementary will be a closed site, serving breakfast and lunch to students attending Kids Korner and summer enrichment at this site.

We will have a two-week menu cycle of hot options, along with assorted deli sandwiches daily. Children will also be offered a canned fruit, fresh fruit, vegetable and milk. Food must be consumed on the premises. Federal Regulations allow only one fresh fruit or one fresh vegetable to be carried out of the cafeteria. Please go to and access the summer menu cycle on the Food and Nutrition site.

All families, regardless of economic need, are welcome to join us at I.J. Holton or Sumner Elementary for a nutritious lunch free of charge. Hope to see you there.