Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

Summer food service program


Jurri Schenck

Hannah Brooks, Parke Price, Laura Stam and Lori Olsen work together in preparing foods for the school district's Summer Food Service Program.

Hot Springs County School District #1 will be starting a Summer Food Service Program on Wednesday, May 27.

Drive through meal service will continue to be offered at four locations in our county.

Every free meal taken supports your local school nutrition program. There are free meals for any child 18 and under. There is no paperwork required and meals must be consumed off-site. 

Families can pick up meals Monday and Wednesday 11 a.m. thru 1 p.m. at these locations: Ralph Witters Elementary Loop, Thermopolis Middle School at the school bus, the Corner of Highway 120 & Owl Creek Road at the school bus and 730 Highway 20 North Lucerne Lot at the school bus.

Hannah Brooks, the food service director for the school district, said "We began our service shortly after the school closure with just two locations. Then we found that the need was significantly higher than what we thought it might have been from our initial projection. So, we increased to four locations. We involved our transportation department as well as our paraprofessionals to build a team with our food service professionals to pack meals. Then also go off-site to hand those meals out. We also do some home delivery to folks who had a need but didn't have transportation."

Brooks added "As a district we have grown from when we started in March, we now serve 35,000 meals to the children in our community. Since it has really taken off, we felt like it was in the best interest of children's needs and our families at this time that are finding a hardship we would continue the program through the summer. The state has issued a waiver that enables us to be able to do that. The plan is to go out through at least until the end of July." 

The program is serving hundreds of families a week. There has been a significant increase in need since the program started in early April where they serviced 300 to 350 families and now the need has almost doubled. Brooks said, "We've communicated with families to come and see us on a regular basis. We have seen quite a bit of relief to find out we would continue throughout the summer through July."

The program is a special food service program created because of the COVID-19 pandemic. There would have been a regular food service program but with different rules due to the original congregation of children in the building, but they are now doing a curbside pickup or delivery plan.


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