The Jessamine County school district’s summer-feeding program is off to a roaring start despite the closing of one of the main cafeteria locations.
The federally funded program started June 4 and is in its fourth year of providing free lunches Monday through Friday to all children 18 years old or younger. It has expanded to 11 locations across the county this year but is not serving meals out of Nicholasville Elementary as in years past; the school is undergoing a comprehensive renovation.
“They said the dining room and the kitchen would be fine, but we just didn’t want to take any chance,” said Karen Barden, the district’s child-nutrition director. “We just didn’t want any children accidentally wandering into the other areas.”
The biggest change in the program this year is getting hot meals to all the locations and not just the cafeterias.
“(In the past,) we’ve done hot meals at the main kitchen locations, and then at the park locations, we have done just sack meals, colder lunches,” Barden said. “But this year we’re taking hot meals out to the parks, too; all the locations are receiving the hot meals. It’s been really successful.”
Between 400 and 500 children were already being each day last week. Barden said that’s about the participation the program finished with last year and that numbers tend to go up through the summer.
New locations this year include the old post-office building at 201 S. 3rd St. — just one block from Nicholasville Elementary — and the YMCA building at 220 E. Maple St. in addition to a location at Elmwood Apartments off Rebel Road that opened last week and fed 31 children the first day.
“It’s open to anyone 18 and under,” Barden said. “We just want to feed the kids a hot, nutritious lunch, and it’s not by income or anything like that.”
Locations and times for the program are:
• Wilmore Elementary School, 150 Campground Lane, Wilmore, noon to 1 p.m.
• Warner Elementary School, 821 Wilmore Road, 11:30 a.m. to noon
• Rosenwald-Dunbar Elementary School, 1500 Wilmore Road, 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
• The Providence School, 210 S. Lexington Ave., Wilmore, 11-11:30 a.m.
• Hayden Park, Jefferson Street, 11-11:45 a.m.
• City-County Park, 402 Park Drive, 11:15-11:45 a.m.
• Ashgrove Park (bus), Young Drive, noon to 12:30 p.m.
• Tates Creek Estates (bus) Ethel Drive, 11-11:30 a.m.
• Old post office, 201 S. 3rd St., 12:30 to 1 p.m.
• YMCA, 220 E. Maple St., 10:45-11:15 a.m.
• Elmwood apartments, Elmwood Court, 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.