GWINN — In 2014, Feeding America reported over 21 million children in low income families received free or reduced–price meals at school. But less than three million were able to get free lunches throughout the summer from the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program. One local school is taking advantage of that program to feed the kids in the community.

Gwinn Area Community Schools is a proud participant in the Summer Food Service Program. This program allocates a grant to the school which, in turn, allows them to make free lunches.

The lunches are served at KI Sawyer School, Gwinn High School and the Sawyer Community Center. Historically, the program feeds almost one hundred kids a day. The lunches are made and distributed by just two employees.

“It’s really an amazing thing that they take the time to do this in the summer,” said Food Service Director Barbie Ward–Thomas. “They have the opportunity to take the summer off or come in and work. So they’re giving up the middle of their day to come and help feed the kids.”

The lunches are available to anyone 18 and younger, including visitors who do not attend Gwinn Schools.

“I think what this program means to the school, as well as the community, is the ability to make sure the kids are getting fed all summer long,” added Ward–Thomas. “These meals are not anything thrown together. We have to follow government guidelines so there’s specific amounts of grains, veggies and fruits on every plate.”

The program starts June 13th and runs through August nineteenth, Monday through Friday.