Marion County summer program offers more summer lunches

 Inside Lake Weir Middle School, you'll find dozens of children like Kelsea Sawyer, and Shaune McCollum, chowing down on free summer lunches.

Kelsea Sawyer, a 12 year old 7th grader  said "I think it's pretty good. You know, when you can feed kids."

Thirteen-year-old 7th grader, Shaune McCollum said "It's cool, I guess."

It's part of Marion County School's Summer Food Service Program that gives free breakfast and lunch to any students who want to eat.

Stephanie Callaway is the Principal, at Lake Weir Middle School.
 
"Looking at how poverty affects our families, I do believe that our students and families benefit from having free meal programs afforded to them," She said.

Callaway said at Lake Weir Middle, nearly 80% of students are eligible for free and reduced-price lunches.

"That data is an indicator of the poverty in our area and how important it is for Lake Weir Middle, and other areas in our district as well, to be able to feed our children," She explained.

Sharon Moyer connects with those students through the food she serves as cafeteria manager. She said it's about more than students having full bellies.

"It also helps them learn," Moyer said. "If they're not hungry, they can concentrate better in the classrooms."

Last year, the county school system served more than 133,000 meals in the program.

The district said it expects to serve 76,000 more school lunches this summer than it did last summer.

Sharon Moyer explained "They've opened more sites this year, and it's grown quite a bit. I guess that has to do with the need."

Nurturing students, fostering education, and strengthening family- school connections, says Callaway.
 
The district says any child 18 or under can simply show up to a location to eat. No income information nor any applications are necessary.  
 
You can also call the school food service office at 352.671.4190 for more information.
 
The following is a list of locations in Marion County where free breakfasts and lunches are being served to children this summer from June 8- July 30, 2015:
 
       Anthony Elementary
•  A Special Place Learning Center
•  Belleview Elementary
•  Belleview High
•  Boys & Girls Club, Ocala
•  Boys & Girls Club, Silver Springs Shores
•  Church of God Deliverer
•  College Park Elementary
•  Deer Run Apartments

•  Dunnellon Elementary
•  Dunnellon High
•  East Marion Elementary
•  Emerald Shores Elementary
•  Evergreen Elementary
•  Ed Croskey Recreation Center

•  Fessenden Elementary
•  Ft. McCoy School
•  Forest Community Center
•  Forest High
•  Francis Marion Charter
•  Glorious Hope Christian
•  Greenway Elementary
•  Green Zone Farms

•  Hobby Horse Educational Childcare
•  Horizon Academy at Marion Oaks
•  Howard Academy
•  L&J Hands
•  Lake Weir High
•  Lake Weir Middle

•  Lillian Bryant Center
•  Little Treasures Learning Center
•  Madison Street Academy
•  Marion Oaks Elementary
•  Marion Technical Institute

•  North Marion High
•  North Marion Middle
•  North Oak Baptist Church
•  Oakcrest Elementary
•  Ocala Farm Ministry
•  Ocala Police Department / Blessed Trinity (PACC)

•  Pedro Baptist Church
•  Shores Baptist Church
•  Small Talk Childcare
•  South Ocala Elementary
•  Temple Church of God
•  The Learning Tree Childcare Center

•  Urban Styles
•  Vanguard High
•  West Port High
•  YMCCA / Druid Hills United Methodist Church



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