Now that school is out for the summer, parents and caretakers may be finding it difficult and costly to keep children fed.

Free meals are available to children in Jackson County through the Summer Food Service Program.

Seymour Community Schools will offer meals to children and teens ages 2 to 18 at two area schools — Margaret R. Brown Elementary School and Seymour Middle School. The program will start Monday and continue through July 31.

The Summer Food Service Program also will be available at Brownstown Christian Church on Mondays and Thursdays from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. and at Medora Community School from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

There is no registration or application for students who want to eat. Adults may pay $2 for breakfast and $3.25 for lunch.

Lunch will be served at Seymour Middle School from 11:15 to 11:45 a.m. Monday through Friday. At Brown, lunch will be from 11:30 a.m. to noon.

Breakfast will be available from 8 to 9 a.m. at the middle school only.

Meal sites will be closed July 3 because of the Fourth of July weekend.

The two Seymour sites were chosen because of summer school programs already taking place at the schools and because they are highly accessible to kids.

“Both of these locations are within walking and biking distance for many children and their families,” said Stacey Driver, a registered dietitian and assistant to the food service director for Seymour Community Schools.

The middle school site is used by those attending summer programs at Girls Inc. or the Boys & Girls Club in Seymour.

Brown is located in a densely populated, low-income area close to many apartment complexes on the city’s south side, making it a good location to also serve free meals, said Bonnie Burbrink, director of food services for the school district.

“This is a great way to feed day cares, sports teams, families on the go and children of all ages,” Driver added. “Everyone is welcome.”

According to national statistics, 21.5 million children rely on free and reduced-price meal during the school year.

Seymour Community School Corp. has offered summer meals since 2008 to ensure children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session.

“Our program participation has continued to grow,” Driver said. “Last summer, we served 1,794 breakfasts and 10,955 lunches to children. This year we hope to serve even more.”

Meals will be similar to what the schools offer during the school year, Driver added.

Each meal will consist of a meat or meat alternate, a grain, fruit, vegetable and milk. Menus will be available at the schools so that parents and children know what food will be served each day.

A complete meal will be offered, but children will be able to choose items. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches will be offered daily.

Meals are counted each day, and the number of meals served for the month are reported to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which reimburses the district for each meal.

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January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.