The 2013-2014 school year kicks off in about two weeks, which means the new Food 4 Summer program has come to an end. Many mouths were fed, many books were read, and many thanks should be said.
From June 10 to July 26, Webster City ran the first ever Food 4 Summer program. During this program, free lunches were provided daily - Monday through Friday - from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the middle school. Children age 18 and younger were able to eat for free, and adults could eat for $3 per meal. Along with free lunches, children were able to win donated prizes from local businesses. Children were also able to read books.
According to Todd and Lori Hartnett, Webster City Community School District's food service directors, Food 4 Summer fed 9,366 meals to kids during its run.
"June served 4,394 meals to students," Lori Hartnett said. "July served 4,972 students."
One of the reasons Food 4 Summer was created was due to the fact that more than 50 percent of Webster City students are on Free/Reduced lunches during the school year, Lori Hartnett added. With many families working during the summer, Food 4 Summer offered a chance for children to get nutritious lunches for free.
These lunches included hot dogs, chicken strips, pizzas, subs, and chicken nuggets.
"They always [received] meat, grain, fruit, vegetable and milk," Lori Hartnett said.
Along with the prizes that were donated by community businesses, children also received books that were donated. They also had access to Diane Bahrenfuss' new Bookmobile.
"There [was] a full house every day," Middle School Principal Becky Hacker-Kluver said. "Lots of kids eating, playing, socializing-just having a great time."
Food 4 Summer not only provided free lunches to children and their families at the middle school, but it also provided food via sack lunches to some summer programs: Webster City baseball team, gardening club, drama club, NEH softball, Webster City softball team and even some local Vacation Bible Schools.
Now that the program has come to a close, the Hartnetts would like to thank the many hands that helped build up the Food 4 Summer program.
"Thank you to the community organizations and churches that helped volunteer their time, and to the many businesses that donated prizes. Thank you to the many who donated monetary gifts to help with our program for transportation and other costs. A huge thanks to our cooks who prepared meals each day and made the kids feel welcome. Also, a huge thank you to the staff and custodians at the Middle School for their extra hard work and patience cleaning up after our kids. And a big thank you to our transportation department for arranging their schedules to have a driver available each day to bus kids to and from the school," Todd and Lori Hartnett said.
Not to be forgotten are all the members of the community and other people who embraced and supported the Food 4 Summer program.
"It is so great to be a part of a community that truly cares for our kids and who freely gave of their time to show kids they care," Todd and Lori Harnett said. "Thank you for your time, donations, books, games and support. Not only did we feed kids, but you showed them how much you care for them by reading to them, helping them with their plates, delivering meals to them, playing games with them and so much more."