Parish picks up summer lunch tab for children, teens

Meals include jambalaya, red beans

June 02, 2011 at 2:51 pm  | 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.

Last year, the parish spent $75,751 on the program and was reimbursed $21,775 from the Louisiana Department of Education, which served as co-sponsor. The remaining $53,977 was supplemented through the parish general fund.

While nearly 7,000 meals were served last summer, the parish expects the turnout to be even bigger this year.

“We are actively marketing this program in order to reach additional children,” Joan Diaz, the director of Community Services, said. “Flyers were distributed in all schools and we are also leaving information at local churches and community sites.”

From June 6 through July 14, lunches will be available at St. Rose Elementary, Luling Elementary and the Landry Alternative Learning Center from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Delicacies such as shrimp stew, red beans and rice with sausage, jambalaya, tacos and lasagna are just some of the items that will be on the menu during that time.

“All meals include a vegetable, fruit, bread and milk,” Diaz said.

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 Charlestowne Club House on the East Bank and Hahnville Housing Development, the West Bank Regional Library and the Mount Zion Baptist Church in Boutte 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.

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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