Wichita Public Schools extend summer food program while BOE discusses 2020-2021 academic year

KSN Digital Extra

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The uncertainty of how and when to safely return to schools has caused the Wichita Public Schools Nutrition Services to reevaluate their food program and the needs of the community.

WPS announced Wednesday that it would be extending the Summer Food Program through August 31. The 2020-2021 academic school year would have started August 13 and the program would have come to a close this week. However, the start of the school year has been pushed back due to surging COVID-19 cases to a date to be determined by the USD 259 Board of Education.

“The decision was based around the fact that we have a need in our community to provide nutritious meals to students, to the extent possible with our existing resources,” said David Paul, Director of Nutrition Services for Wichita Public Schools.

The director says it has taken some work to extend the Summer Food Program which serves over 6000 breakfast and lunches to students in USD 259. Aside from rising food prices, and difficulty getting some items from vendors, Nutritional Services had to work to confirm they would have ample volunteers and staff to accommodate the extra week of the program.

The program provides free grab-and-go breakfast and lunch meals two times a week for any district student, ages 1 to 18-years-old. A weekly menu is available here.

Wichita Public Schools say meals will be offered from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesdays, and only children who are present can receive a meal.

“I think that the district would agree we wanted to make sure everybody’s needs are met,” Ramona Jones, Nutrition Services Lead, Curtis Middle School told KSN. “That’s our duty. That’s why we took the position with and worked with nutrition services. To provide them that service with a happy heart. Especially during times like right now.”

Meals are available at nine locations in Wichita

Wichita Transit is offering free bus rides to and from meal locations 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for WPS students and accompanying guardians. To see a list of bus routes, go to wichitatransit.org

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