Indian Camp cafeteria is summer feeding site

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital

Young Pawhuskans have healthy meal options while school is out this summer.

Free breakfasts, lunches and snacks are being offered to all children 18 and under at Indian Camp Elementary, 2005 E. Boundary Ave. Indian Camp’s cafeteria will open from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every Monday through Friday until the end of June.

The summer food program’s adult lunches are provided at a cost of $3.40, school officials said.

In addition to the Pawhuska location, Osage County is to have two other designated feeding sites: Horace Mann Elementary at 2000 S. Pettit in Hominy and Woodland High School, 100 N. 6th St., in Fairfax. Every site will be open daily, although the hours, dates of operation, onsite activities and programs could differ.

“Stretching the food budget is a tough challenge for every family and it can get tougher during the summer when school isn’t in session,” said Donna Robbins, Osage County Family and Consumer Science Educator. “The summer feeding program can help families by sharing that load.”

Oklahoma will have a total of 627 feeding sites this summer. In most counties, the Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension is also offering interactive nutrition education and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program activities, Robbins added.

“Kids with access to nutritious meals learn better and are healthier — so, hopefully, families will take advantage of the summer feeding program,” said Debra Garrard, OSU Cooperative Extension assistant nutrition specialist and Community Nutrition Education Programs coordinator.

In the short term, these summer feeding programs give Oklahoma students a chance to eat healthy even when they are not in school. Students will often get to interact with other youth through positive activities at feeding sites, as well, said Franza Schrader, coordinator of the Summer Food Service Program for the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

“Without these resources, our youth could face some significant long-term challenges that could ultimately affect all Oklahomans,” said Schrader, who called the summer program “critical.”

The summer food programs can help families to budget for their other meals and necessities, school officials said.

Free hot meals for children are made possible through two U.S. Department of Agriculture programs — the Summer Food Service Program and the Seamless Summer Option. In accordance with federal law and USDA policy, schools are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, nationalorigin, sex, age or disability.

For more information, contact the local Extension office, or visit www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks. Families can also call the National Hunger Hotline at 866-3-HUNGRY (English) or 877-8-HAMBRE (Spanish), or contact the Oklahoma Regional Food Bank at www.regionalfoodbank.org/get-help/summer-feeding.