RED OAK — Every year, millions of American youth rely on the lunch served at school to keep from going hungry. In an effort to ensure those students continue to receive a daily meal, the United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversees the federally-funded and state-administered Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).

Both Waxahachie and Red Oak ISD are participating in the program this summer. The program runs Monday—Thursday, June 6—29. Students who qualify in Waxahachie can receive two meals a day at Wedgeworth Elementary from 7-8:15 a.m. (breakfast) and 11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. (lunch).

Those in Red Oak can visit either Red Oak Elementary or the Little Hawks Learning Center. Meals will be served at the elementary campus from 7:15-8 a.m. (breakfast) and 11:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (lunch), while the Little Hawks Learning Center will serve breakfast from 8:15-45 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. - noon.

According to information provided on USDA.gov, the SFSP began as a three-year pilot in 1968. The following summer, states were able to provide meals for roughly 99,000 students at 1,200 sites. The number of students participating approached 2.8 million at 23,700 locations by 1977 before dropping to fewer than 1.4 million children served at approximately 14,400 sites in 1982. The steep decline followed the passing of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981, which the USDA fact sheet states "redefined 'area of poor economic conditions' to mean areas where 50 percent of children would be eligible for free and reduced-price meals, rather than one-third."

The USDA reported the number of children served by the program finally again topped 2 million in 1993 after the passing of the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 1989. The number has remained relatively consistent since 1993.

According to a release issued by Red Oak ISD, the SFSP is open to all kids ages 1-18 "without charge and are the same for all children regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability." It also adds, "there will be no discrimination in the course of the meal service."

According to ROISD, adult meals are also available for purchase — $2 for breakfast and $3.25 for lunch.

Wedgeworth Elementary is located at 405 Solon Road in Waxahachie. Red Oak Elementary is located at 200 Valley Ridge Drive in Red Oak. Little Hawks Learning Center is located at 205 West Ovilla Road in Red Oak.

For more information, visit summerfood.org, or, for ROISD questions, contact Desiree Tran at (972) 617-2941.

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Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith

(469) 517-1470