Rita Denton hopes to feed 16,000 people this summer.
Instead of taking the next couple of months off, the Mansfield school district’s director of student nutrition is hoping to attract kids and adults across the district - even if they don’t attend a Mansfield school - to breakfast and lunch. And it’s free for youngsters 18 and younger.
The Seamless Summer Feeding Program kicks off June 8 at Alice Ponder, Imogene Gideon and Kenneth Davis elementaries, Della Icenhower Intermediate, Coble and T.A. Howard middle schools and Summit High School. Since many students will be attending camps and classes at these schools, they can stay or come early for a free meal.
“You do not have to be on a free or reduced lunch (plan),” Denton said. “You don’t have to be a Mansfield ISD student. It’s opent to the public. Come through the line and get a plate. Come one, come all. Bring a friend.”
Adults can come, too, paying $2 for breakfast and $3.50 for lunch.
Meals follow the district’s usual plan with entries like pulled pork sandwiches, chicken nuggets, corn dogs, nachos and a lot of fresh produce, Denton said.
“The menu choices are done very carefully,” she said. “Our mission is to make food fun.”
The federally-reimbursed program “does not use any local taxpayer dollars,” Denton said. “The USDA covers the food, utilities, paper plates and labor. With all those expenses, we still made a profit last year. The families win. The students and community benefit.”
The program also helps Mansfield district food service employees who want to continue working in the summer, she said.
This will be the second summer that the school district has offered the Seamless Summer Program. Last year, the program served 14,000 meals, Denton said.
“It was a shot in the dark,” Denton said. “We hoped for as many as we could get and we were pleased.”
Hours at each school will vary, go to mansfieldisd.org for dates and times.