COLORADO SPRINGS – About a month from now school will be out for students in Colorado Springs and for a lot of families that means food challenges at home.
News 5 spoke with District 11 who shared the problem is only getting worse. The district is just one example of where poverty is hitting our city hard. Officials said the number of students getting free or reduced meals has increased significantly. Now that students will be home all day for the summer soon the free meals they counted on every day are now in jeopardy.
Devra Ashby, public information officer for D11, said, “They sense anxiety because it means for them not only school ending, but also that secure food source ending…we’ve seen over the past decade or so that number, that percentage rate increase from about 30 percent free and reduced lunch rates to roughly 60 percent free and reduced lunch rates in District 11.”
So what happens when they’re at home for the summer?
“For students that means that that every day source of reliability in breakfast and lunch is no longer there.”
It’s why this summer the district is once again offering free breakfast and lunch to any child at parks and certain schools.
The City of Colorado Springs is also stepping up. It just received a $31,000 grant. Meadows Park Community Center will being using the funds to enhance its summer feeding programs for both youth and seniors.
Jody Derington, parks operations administrator, said, “It will be an intergenerational program.”
On top of getting free food, kids will be working with seniors learning how to make healthy meals.
Derington said, “This grant will touch on nutritional education as well…to create a curriculum that will help educate students on getting those healthy portions every day.”
These programs will kick off late May/early June and run through late July/early August. Any child 18 or younger is welcome.