- Associated Press - Sunday, June 14, 2015

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - Free lunches are being served to children and teenagers younger than 18 in a Minot park this summer as part of a federally funded program.

The Summer Food Program will begin handing out lunches Monday in Oak Park, the Minot Daily News (https://bit.ly/1FxNCtg ) reported. The program operated by Minot Public Schools will run five days a week through Aug. 14, with lunch being served from 11:30 a.m. to noon. Sack lunches will be served four out of the five days each week, with hot lunches being served the remaining day.

The program is open to any child regardless of income, said Minot schools food service director Ivy Thorson. Adults are able to purchase the lunches for $3 apiece.

Organizers of the Summer Food Program hope it will encourage local groups to organize activities in the park that children can participate in around lunch time, Thorson said.

Representatives from the Souris Valley United Way and Minot Public School Foundation, which donated $2,000 and $1,000 respectively to the program to help cover start-up costs, believe it’s important for children to have access to healthy meals while they’re not in school.

“Summer is a critical time for children’s academic and physical well-being,” said Patricia Smith, executive director of the Souris Valley United Way. “This program will be an important source of nutrition for the youth in our community.”

Thorson hopes about 75 children will initially get meals, but the program will be able to serve more depending on turnout.

“We are excited to offer a summer food program to improve the health and well-being of our community,” said Thorson. “Good nutrition is key to the optimal growth and development of children.”

The program will be reimbursed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Information from: Minot Daily News, https://www.minotdailynews.com

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