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story.lead_photo.caption Janelle Jessen/Herald-Leader Kids who had been playing at the splash pad in Memorial Park or visiting the Siloam Springs Public Library lined up to pick up meals from Siloam Springs School District's summer lunch program on Monday. The library is one of four mobile and two stationary meal sites.

The Siloam Springs School District is providing six sites where kids can get a free lunch this summer.

The summer meal program began on May 28 and will continue Monday through Friday until Aug. 9, missing only three days over the summer -- Memorial Day, July 4 and the Monday before school starts back, according to Jason Carter, director of child nutrition for the district.

Mobile meal schedule

11 a.m. — Spring Valley Gazebo at 751 Arkansas Highway 16

11:30 a.m. — Eliana Chacon Park at 228 E. Lake Francis Dr.

12 p.m. — Bob Henry Park Pavilion on Benton Street.

12:30 p.m. — Siloam Springs Library at 205 E. Jefferson St.

Meals are also served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Allen Elementary School and the Siloam Springs Middle School.

Source: siloamschools.com.

Lunches are available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at two stationary sites, Allen Elementary School and Siloam Springs Middle School. Lunches will be served at 11 a.m. at the Spring Valley Gazebo at 751 Arkansas Highway 16; 11:30 a.m. at Eliana Chacon Park at 228 E. Lake Francis Drive; 12 p.m. at Bob Henry Park Pavilion on Benton Street; and 12:30 p.m. at the Siloam Springs Public Library at 205 E. Jefferson St.

Breakfasts are also available from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. at Allen Elementary School and Siloam Springs Middle School.

All children under the age of 18 eat free, whether or not they attend school in Siloam Springs, Carter said. Adult meals are available at the stationary sites only for $3.50 each.

A highlight of the program are the free summer activities provided on "Stay and play Thursdays," at the Eliana Chacon Park sponsored by Potter's House, Carter said. Teams of volunteers from local companies and organizations, such as La-Z-Boy, Kiwanis, Arvest and DaySpring, provide activities such as crafts and games for kids.

Brian Hyde, a reading interventionist for the district, provides a mobile library so each kid also receives a book, he said.

"If a kid comes up, they're going to get a book, they're going to get a meal, they're going to get an activity and then they will get someone to just sit and do that activity with them," Carter said.

The meal program has grown each year and last summer nearly 20,000 meals were served, Carter said. The library site was added this year and this year the newly opened Memorial Park splash pad next door could increase the draw for children, Carter said.

Families also often enjoy eating at Allen Elementary School before visiting the Aquatic Center next door, he said.

The summer meal program helps the schools be inviting places for kids, Carter said.

"There's just something about feeding people, eating together is cultural, any time you provide food for somebody you build a relationship with them," he said. "It's really neat to show the kids that school is a place for them during the summer, it's not just August through May, school is here for you year round.

More information is available on the school website, siloamschools.com.

General News on 06/05/2019

Print Headline: Summer lunch program going strong

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