Parish will offer free lunches during summer

May 31, 2012 at 8:48 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Once again, St. Charles Parish is shelling out the dough to make sure children and teens under the age of 18 receive a free, piping-hot meal for lunch during the summer.

More than 7,000 meals were served last summer and the parish is hoping for an even bigger turnout this year.

"Our goal is always to increase the number of participants through advertisement," Joan Diaz, the director of Community Services for St. Charles Parish, said. "To spread the word we have posted the info on our website, and have sent the flyer to the schools."

From June 4 through July 12, lunches will be available at St. Rose Elementary, Luling Elementary and the E.J. Landry Alternative Learning Center from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

"The daily meal includes a nutritious hot lunch that includes a main course, vegetable, fruit, bread and milk," Diaz said. "The menu changes from week to week in order to provide a variety of food."

Diaz said some of the most popular dishes are lasagna, red beans and rice with sausage, salsbury steak and chili cheese mac. Occasionally, tacos and pizza are served as well.

No child or teenager under the age of 18 living in the parish can be turned away from the program, whether their parents make $20,000 a year or $120,000 because the state program doesn’t allow discrimination based on socio-economic backgrounds.

In fact, even those over the age of 18 that have disabilities and attend a state accredited school qualify for the free meal.

Registration is not required for the meals, and those eligible just have to get dropped off at one of the schools or bussed to the closest location. There are more than 50 pick-up spots throughout the parish. Main stops include Meadows Drive, Mockingbird Lane in Preston Hollow and the Norco Post Office on the East Bank and Paul Maillard Road, Barton Avenue and Monsanto Park on the West Bank.

For a complete list, visit the parish’s Web site at and click on Community Services.

Students can look for bright orange SFSP bus stop signs that will be posted throughout the parish.

"The program provides a well-balanced hot meal to children and disabled individuals throughout the summer, providing a vital service and offering support to families across the parish," Diaz said.

The program was created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure that children in lower-income areas could continue to receive nutritious meals during the summer. The program is the single largest federal resource available for local sponsors who want to combine a feeding program with a summer activity program.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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