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Red Clay School District provides free, nutritious summer meals for kids to fight food insecurity

Organizers of school summer meals program say it's needed more than ever
Organizers of school summer meals program say it's needed more than ever 02:40

WILMINGTON, Del. (CBS) -- For many parents and guardians, it is a struggle for those trying to figure out how to feed their kids during summer break.

Providing food for young souls in the summertime is what the Red Clay School District is all about. 

"We really strive to serve every meal with a smile," said Jess Farrand, director of nutrition for Red Clay School District. 

The district provides free summer meals for children 18 years old and under.

"And every meal that we serve is USDA Dietary Guidelines for students," Farrand said. "It includes a high-fiber grain, a low-fat protein, fresh fruits and vegetables and a dairy food."

Here's some food for thought, since the pandemic, participation in this summer meals program has increased. Higher grocery prices and inflation are just a couple of factors for its growth.

"Last year we served about 2,000 meals a day, and we are anticipating that number to double this year based on projected numbers," Farrand said. 

And the kids can count on something nutritious Monday through Thursday all coming from a staff that puts everything into their love of helping others.

Linden Hill Elementary School is one of the school sites, benefitting from the USDA food service program this summer.

"We know that a lot of our students still experience food insecurity, so we do our best to open up our sites, that have summer enrichment programs," Farrand said.

The program works indoors and outside as well with a food truck aimed at mobilizing healthy minds and bodies.


"We are calling it "Picnic in the Park," it's an opportunity for parents to bring their kids out for an outing, play at the park, get some exercise and then they can have a healthy lunch off our food truck, also known as the Red Clay Lunchbox," Farrand said. 

Jim, who works inside the Red Clay Lunchox, has over three decades in the restaurant industry, and now he's here for the children who need it most.

"They see the truck pull up and they're just ecstatic," he said.

Jumping for summer joy with the end game ensuring they land on their feet.

"It's a community effort, and I think Red Clay has always been a leader in partnering in their community and a leader in making sure that our students have everything they need for success," Farrand said. 

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