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Austin Schools Kick-Off Summer Nutrition Program

June 10, 2019 06:55 PM

It's the first week of summer vacation for students in Austin.

But on Monday, we found many of those kids somewhere you might not expect to find them ... at school.

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"If we didn't have this program, we have numerous students who wouldn't get lunch every day," Dewey Schara said.

It's one of the challenges of summer vacation: while fractions and spelling tests and history quizzes have ended, hunger has not.

“So we offer free lunches for any child ages 1 to 18" Austin school district food service director Mary Weikum said.

About 60 percent of the students in the Austin school district qualify for free or reduced-price school lunch, based on family income.

"And this program is available to help families during summer months when we worry about what students are eating," food service director Mary Weikum said.

On the first day of this summer’s program, we found a young man enjoying lunch with his mother: "Carrots, and apple sauce, and milk, and yogurt and an apple. And Scooby Snacks" he explained, examining the items on his tray.

"So that way you have more energy and you're able to do more things, especially in the summertime since you're burning a lot more since you're outside," seventh-grader Ella Spear said.

“Students who are eating right are more alert, less sleepy, more focused and ready to go for school" Holton Intermediate School principal Dewey Schara said.

“Our goal is to keep the kids of Austin healthy and ready to learn again in September," food service director Mary Weikum said.

Meals are being served at three sites this year ... Monday through Friday at Austin high school and Holton intermediate school, and Tuesday through Thursday at Neveln elementary, 11 to 1 at each location.

"To not know that you have a guaranteed meal creates anxiety” Holton principal Dewey Schara said. “It can create behavior issues, the list goes on. So it's essential that we're able to do this.”

“Last year we served almost 30-thousand,” Mary Weikum said. “And we do expect that to rise this year."

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