The White River and Enumclaw school districts are expanding their summer food programs for students — more people are able to receive free food at more places around the Plateau. Pictured are Evelyn and Emma Andreasen picking up a lunch at Mountain Meadow Elementary in Buckley when the schools first started their COVID food program. File photo by Ray Miller-Still

The White River and Enumclaw school districts are expanding their summer food programs for students — more people are able to receive free food at more places around the Plateau. Pictured are Evelyn and Emma Andreasen picking up a lunch at Mountain Meadow Elementary in Buckley when the schools first started their COVID food program. File photo by Ray Miller-Still

Districts changing summer nutrition programs, making food available to more kids

Enumclaw is expanding to four new locations for food pickups, and White River is adding a second.

Students throughout the Enumclaw and White River school districts will have even greater access to a free breakfast and lunch this summer.

Within the food service departments of both districts, plans have been solidified to expand existing meal delivery programs. But, while opportunities have increased, some crucial elements of the food programs are unchanged: foremost, youngsters from birth to age 18 will be eligible for free meals.

The summer programs, operating under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are intended to guarantee food is delivered to families in need. However, there are no financial stipulations; all may benefit from the program.

ENUMCLAW EXPANDING TO FOUR SCHOOL SITES

Tracy Holyan, who runs the Nutrition Services program for the Enumclaw School District, is prepared for brisk summertime business.

A year ago, she said, the summer months saw perhaps 30 breakfasts being passed out and maybe 100 lunches. Those are generous numbers, she said, representing the busiest days. Now, she is planning to serve 625 kids with “grab and go” opportunities.

The expanded numbers are due to an increased outreach effort.

For the past few summers, Enumclaw school employees have distributed meals at the local library, breakfast in the morning and lunch a few hours later.

The world has changed in recent months and food service has adapted. Previously, kids had to be present to get their meals, which had to be eaten on the library property. Now, everything will be grab-and-go, with a daily lunch and the next day’s breakfast in a single bag.

Gone is the requirement that children be present. A parent can simply drive up, take a sack and be on their way. The rules changed courtesy of a USDA waiver, granted because of the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis.

Another huge difference is availability. Instead of a single site at the local library, the Enumclaw district will operate out of four locations: Enumclaw High School and Kibler Elementary (from 11:15 to 11:45 a.m.) and Westwood Elementary and Black Diamond Elementary (noon to 12:30 p.m.).

Enumclaw’s summer food program will begin June 22 and continue through Aug. 21 (except for Friday, July 3).

Until that time, Enumclaw will maintain the meal delivery program that kicked off when schools were closed for the remainder of the year. Since mid-March, the district has been operating a grab-and-go system, with a lunch and breakfast in a single bag, at Enumclaw High as well as Kibler, Westwood and Black Diamond elementary schools. Additionally, food was delivered to Cumberland and Selleck.

WHITE RIVER ADDING A SECOND LOCATION

In years past, the White River School District has operated its summer food program solely at the Buckley Youth Center. That one-site approached has changed, according to Richard Noble, Child Nutrition manager for the district.

Addressing the need to serve kids and teenagers outside Buckley, the district has added a distribution site at Foothills Elementary School (just south of state Route 410 on 234th Avenue East).

In Buckley, meals will still be available at the Youth Center. Depending upon Pierce County rules, distribution might be outdoors.

Meals will be provided between noon and 1 p.m., Monday through Friday. The summer program starts June 15 and continues through Aug. 31 (except for Friday, July 3). As in the past, free meals will be available to those 18 and younger.

The district is now wrapping up a food-delivery program that launched with the cancellation of classes on campus. Grab-and-go meals have been handed out at district schools (except the Early Learning Center), an effort that will conclude this Friday, June 12.


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