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K-State Research and Extension

Summer lunch program makes a big difference in western Kansas

Hamilton County's Summer Food Service Program head cook Carlotta works with a student volunteer to prepare meals.

Hamilton County's Summer Food Service Program head cook Carlotta works with a student volunteer to prepare meals. 

What we are doing:

During the summer, K-State Research and Extension agents at county and district offices across Kansas help provide nutritious meals to all interested children, ages 1 – 18, regardless of income or family status. The Summer Food Service Program is a federal program which is administered through the Kansas' Department of Education which, in turn, works with local agencies across Kansas, including K-State Research and Extension in many counties. 

“We don't have to have any eligibility requirements, there are no family income requirements, we just offer a free lunch for kids 18 and under,” said Lora Horton, a family and consumer sciences agent with K-State Research and Extension’s Hamilton County office. “We also offer an optional adult meal for $5 so parents and family members can eat with their kids, if they wish.”

Our impact:

  • This summer, Hamilton County served an average of 63 meals per day.
  • Summer Food Service Programs bring together volunteers from across the community, ranging from retired adults to local 4-H members.
  • By partnering with others in a community, such as local libraries or public pools, children can combine fitness, education and nutritious meals.
  • In 2017, the Department of Education's SFSP served 1.41 million meals across Kansas and set a goal of 1.5 million this year as the number of sites and participants such as K-State Research and Extension has increased. 
 

“We are a small community with limited resources, so partnering with other entities – to acquire food, to help get the kids here, to get the volunteers that we need to make the program run successfully – is a very vital part of our program.”

– Lora Horton, K-State Research and Extension-Hamilton County family and consumer science agent