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Summer lunch program expects to pack a punch this year

Kids are pouring into Pocatello’s parks in order to get the nutrition they need as this year’s annual Summer Food Service Program kicked-off Monday afternoon.

While for some kids, the lunch program means social hour and free food, but others, the chips are a bit higher.

Pocatello-Chubbuck School District Food Services Coordinator Tom Wilson said most people don’t realize this program is a vital necessity as a community service.

“There are a lot of kids, where, once school is out, they may not get the proper nutrition they need,” Wilson said. “We have even seen it in our area, where this may be the only meal that some kids get.”

Wilson said when the program first started, it was limited to only one park and he expected to only feed a couple hundred kids. Five-thousand kids later during that same summer, he realized it was time to start adding park locations.

Now, they are up to eight parks and fed just under 100,000 kids this past year alone.

This year, Wilson expects to break past 130,000 kids they will feed between this opening week and it’s final day on August 8.

This is the thirteenth year School District 25 has been participating in this statewide Child Nutrition Program which is federally funded by the USDA.

Kids do not have to qualify in order to enjoy the free meal, but they are just required to eat their lunch in the park and have to be under 19-years old.

The meals will be served daily from 11:30 until 12:30 every afternoon at these locations:

Alameda Park, Bicentennial Park, Caldwell Park, Hawthorne Park, OK Ward Park, Raymond and Upper Ross Parks, and at the New Horizons Center.

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