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USD 489 keeps kids fed in summer





For some youngsters, it's lunch as usual most of the summer.

Hays USD 489 students' last day of school is May 17, and the summer food service program starts May 22 at Washington Elementary School.

Breakfast is served 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., said Shiela Brening, USD 489 nutrition services director.

"The time is strict," Brening said. "The door opens at 8:30."

Doors are locked at 9:30 a.m., and reopen for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

There's no sign-up, and meals are free for those ages 1 to 18. Participants don't have to be USD 489 students or even Hays residents.

Brening said the program has served children visiting relatives for the summer or families who are traveling.

Adults can eat, too, but they must pay $2 for breakfast and $3.30 for lunch.

"They aren't allowed to eat from a child's portion," Brening said.

The Washington cafeteria can hold a maximum of 200 kids, she said, and the number attending varies each day.

Meals are served Monday through Friday, but weather is a factor in attendance.

"If the pool isn't open, kids might not come," Brening said.

The program runs from May 22 to July 10, but no meals are served May 27 and July 4 and 5.

Participants get the same kind of meals served during the school year with an emphasis on fruits and vegetables.

"It's not a sack lunch," she said.

Like the regular school lunch program, the summer program is a federal program and gets no money from the USD 489 school district, Brening said.