Large Butler County district offering summer lunch program for the first time

One of Butler County’s largest school systems will be offering free summer-break lunches to low-income students for the first time.

“This is the first time we’ve done this, so we are thrilled to be able to provide this service throughout the summer to our families,” said Fairfield Schools’ spokesperson Gina Gentry-Fletcher.

Lunches will be served at three locations in the district during students’ summer breaks.

The 10,000-student Fairfield district is the latest area school system to try and feed its students from low income families, who relay on federally subsidized free and reduced meals during the school year, during their summer time off from classes.

Lakota, Hamilton and Middletown schools in recent years have launched mobile food truck programs that has the kitchen and refrigeration-installed vehicles traveling each day to poorer communities within their district school boundaries.

MORE: Hamilton Schools create first mobile food truck lunch program

Fairfield’s summer meal program uses a truck but only to transport food, beverages and set up equipment to the distribution locations each weekday the program to the program’s three meal sites.

Jeff Madden, director of student services for Fairfield schools, said “this program is being started to help reduce hunger when school is out.”

“Students across our district depend on our lunch and breakfast during the school year, with this program we hope to reduce the stress and need students go through in the summer as it relates the accessibility of nutritious food,” said Madden.

“This program will allow all students regardless of their financial situation to receive a free quality lunch five days a week,” he said.

“Parents are not required to fill out paperwork, nor do they have to be in attendance for a child to receive a free lunch. Children between the ages of 1-18 are automatically eligible and will be served,” said Madden. “The only condition of this program is that children must eat lunch at the site. Parents wanting to purchase a lunch may do so for $4.”

It’s a first-come, first-served meal program as food and beverage supplies are limited.

Since it’s a new program, Fairfield officials are unsure of how many families will participate. More than 42 percent of Fairfield’s students come from families whose incomes are low enough to be eligible for free and reduced school meals.

“This has been a challenge to gauge, however we are preparing for a minimum of 250 student to participate, based on the sites we have selected. This number could easily be closer to 500 if families are aware about the program and are able take advantage of it,” said Madden.

The lunch program runs from May 29 through August 15.

The locations and times each week day are:

  • Pinnacle on Pleasant, 5001 Pleasant Ave. in Fairfield from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
  • Fairfield Acres, 94 Sammy Drive in Fairfield from 11:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
  • Tylers Creek, 7777 Wildbranch Road in Fairfield Township from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.

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