“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop
School is out, and summer is well underway. To most, summer brings times of relaxation. It gives children of all ages time to play outside, play games inside, work and travel. Not only is it a time for students to get their minds off of learning in the classroom, but it also gives them a chance to wind down and mentally prepare themselves for the school year ahead. Along with summer, however, comes food.
Hot dogs, sweet corn and cookouts are what summer is all about. In today’s society, food is the center of holidays, seasons and family gatherings. It is way to connect with others, but is often overlooked. What strides are being taken to ensure everyone is being fed? What steps are being taken to fill the bellies of local children?
When school is in session, the La Porte Community School Corporation (LPCSC) provides a safe and secure learning environment, a positive atmosphere and respect for all students, staff, parents and the community. Even when school is not in session, the corporation’s nurturing demeanor takes full force.
This summer, they are providing free meals to children ages 18 and younger from both LPCSC and other school corporations surrounding La Porte’s. No identification is required, and all sites are open to everyone.
The Summer Feeding Program has been around for over 10 years, and continues to feed over 1,000 local children each day.
This year, Hailmann Elementary, Kingsford Heights Elementary, Lincoln Elementary and La Porte High School (LPHS) are open Monday thru Thursday to serve meals. The sites are not open on Fridays, as the Corporation is closed on Fridays. The program extends until July 30.
The schools are chosen by the percentage of students who are on a free and reduced lunch program during the school year.
“Kingsford Heights is great, as it brings the community together. Hailmann is on the east side of La Porte, Lincoln is in the middle and LPHS is on the west, which makes it available for walkers through town. Many come by themselves and walk to the site,” said Judy Keim, La Porte Community School Corporation's long-time Food Service Director.
La Porte High School, located at 602 F. St., and Lincoln Elementary School, located at 402 Harrison St., serve both breakfast and lunch. Breakfast is open from 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m., and lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Hailmann Elementary School, located at 1001 E. Ohio St., and Kingsford Heights Elementary School, located at 460 Evanston Rd., only provide lunch.
The meals are chosen by popular demand - some of which include pizza, deli sandwiches and crispy cubes, with sides of assorted fruit and veggie cups.
“Summer Feeding is a passion of mine, and it is a great program. I have been Food Service Director for La Porte Schools for 35 years and have seen the program make major changes and upgrades as we move along,” Keim said. “We have put a lot of work into the summer program, and getting the word out to kids is our biggest effort. We feel we are very important to the community, as many of the kids would not be eating a full meal including their fruits and vegetables.”
The program benefits the children in the community who would not have a well-rounded meal in the summer, if it weren’t for La Porte Community School Corporation’s helping hand.
“As a teacher, it puts my heart at ease knowing that kids and families of La Porte are being cared for even when school is not in session. For me, instances like this are the reason I came back to La Porte. I didn't want to teach anywhere else because our community has heart. We are a family, and that is paramount to me. I want to be in a place that bands together in good times and bad, and the food program is another shining example of that,” LPHS English teacher Erin Parker said.
Starting in mid-July, LPCSC will be receiving free and reduced lunch applications online. Students that were a part of the program last year will receive free and reduced meals for the first 30 calendar days of the 2015-2016 school year. For more information, visit http://www.lpcsc.k12.in.us/foodservice/free_reduced.asp.