In 2013, the Copperas Cove Independent School District provided three summer feeding sites.
In summer 2017, the district opened eight summer feeding sites to ensure children 18 and under received both breakfast and lunch at no cost while they were not in school.
Melissa Bryan, the school district’s director of child nutrition, said the district works very hard to ensure children’s needs are met outside of school.
“The USDA does not say that we have to feed kids a meal during the summer months,” she said. “But as a district, we want to ensure all of our children get fed. I don’t want any child going without food.”
Opening the additional sites means the school district has been able to feed even more children this summer.
In June 2016, a total of 4,767 children ate breakfast over the summer and 8,834 children ate lunch through seven feeding sites.
With eight sites open this year in just the month of June, 5,837 students have eaten free breakfast and 9,412 children have eaten free lunch for a total of 15,249 free meals being served. The program continues through the month of July with thousands more children expected to line up for more free meals.
Angelyce and Genaro Enriquez are siblings who eat breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday each week at Fairview/Miss Jewell Elementary School.
Angelyce Enriquez, 7, a second grader at Halstead Elementary, said her favorite breakfast is the Honey Nut Cheerios.
Although offered breakfast burritos, fruit and many other items, her brother’s favorite breakfast item is the ZZ Protein Bar. Both children smiled and said they get plenty to eat.
“I am full already,” said Genaro Enriquez, a fifth grader at Hettie Halstead Elementary School. “I do go through the lunch line more than once sometimes when they have popcorn chicken. It is so good that I have to have it again.”
Cafeteria staff called out to the children encouraging them to go through the line again if they were still hungry, telling them that there was plenty of food. Some children took advantage of the opportunity.
“I’ve seen it saving parents some money,” Bryan said. “When you have kids at home during the summer, electricity goes up and now parents have to provide three meals. So it’s a double whammy.”