Free Summer Meal Program Helps District Families

Holley children received free breakfast and lunch at the MS/HS Dining Hall once again last summer due to a partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The district provided meals Monday through Friday to children under the age of 18 living within the Holley Central School District, regardless of income level. “We were proud and pleased to offer this program in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture,” said Superintendent Brian Bartalo. “We urged everyone in the district to participate.” Pre-registration was not required. 

We were proud and pleased to offer this program in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture... and urged everyone in the district to participate.
— Brian Bartalo, Holley CSD Superintendent

While district children enjoyed these meals for free, adults, including Holley staff members, purchased breakfast for $2.50 and lunch for $4.25 from the district during this program. 

Students who participated in the BLAST summer conditioning sessions or attended local summer recreation programs were able to grab meals before and/or after their sessions. Breakfast was served from 8-11 a.m. and lunch was served from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Breakfast included bagels, cereal, muffins, donuts, Frudels, fresh fruit, juice and milk. Lunch included subs, wraps, tacos, pizzas, chicken patties, salads, vegetables, fruit, water, milk and juice. The meal program ended on August 17. Transportation was not provided by the District. 

Students cited cereal, muffins and donuts as their top choices for breakfast. Subs, wraps and tacos were their favorites for lunch. Third grader Veronica Flow declared the subs as her favorite lunch choice. “It makes me happy,” she said.

 Parent Casey McCormack said not only did she appreciate the cost savings on groceries by bringing her kids in for meals, but her kids also enjoyed the social aspect of eating lunch at school. “They like seeing their friends and being able to visit with them over lunch,” she said. Parent James Robinson brings his children to the program several times each week. “It gives the kids something to do and helps keep them out of trouble,” he said. “It’s good for them to socialize with their friends here.” Guardian Susan Harrell agrees. “My kids wantto come here for a meal,” she said. “I really like the convenience because we stop in here for lunch after summer recreation is over for the day.”

Parent Kayla Cortes also likes the choices offered to her children at each meal. “When we come in the morning and eat breakfast, my kids will pick up the second option to take home for a snack,” she said. She buys the meals for herself, too. “I think they are well-balanced meals and provide good value for the money,” said Cortes. 

Grandfather Paul Wolle appreciates not having to make lunches for his four grandchildren. “By coming here, the kids get what they want, and there’s less wasting of food,” he said. Parent Heather Kelley agrees. “I don’t have to make separate meals for each kid,” she said. 

 Some of the summer recreation staff also eat lunch during the meal program. “I like that it’s free, it’s close by and I don’t have to make my own lunch,” said eighth grader Mason Hill.

 Food Service Director Vickie Scroger said she noticed a decrease in attendance this year, with less student activities held at the school this summer. Scroger said the busiest days were Tuesdays and Wednesdays when the summer recreation program was in session. On average, 444 meals were served each week. Lunches proved more popular than breakfasts, with a total of 1,387 lunches served versus 1,278 breakfasts at the end of six weeks of summer meals.