More Kids Get Free School Lunches In Blaine County
Ketchum, Idaho (KMVT-TV) We've all heard about summer lunch programs for school kids, and free or reduced price school lunches for families that can't afford them.
Sterotypically, most of us think of families in Ketchum and Sun Valley as very well to do. But during the last ten years or so, more and more children are getting a break when it comes to paying for school lunch. A total of 3400 students attend school in the Blaine County School District.
Heather Crocker with the Blaine County School District says, "In Blaine County, approximately 40% of our students qualify for free and reduced lunch. It varies among our eight schools with one being as high as 58%. We're a lot like other school districts."
The 58% figure is from Woodside Elementary School. Crocker says here at Ernest Hemingway Elementary School in Ketchum, about 27% of the students qualify for free or reduced price school lunches. The school district teamed up to with the Blaine County Hunger Coalition, which provided over 5,000 free meals to kids this summer.
Jeanne Liston, Executive Director of the Blaine County Hunger Coalition, says, "We also have a backpack program, where we work with the school social workers to provide a backpack full of food on Fridays to give to kids. So they have enough food to get through the weekends, and they can come to school on Monday morning ready to learn, and not so hungry that they can't focus."
Liston says last year the Hunger Coalition handed out a maximum of 145 backpacks a week while the program was at its high point. She says these efforts are to help insure that kids like these grow up to be healthy, contributing members of society.
Crocker says, "Some people might be surprised that that's the situation in Blaine County. But Blaine County does have need, and that is one of the reason we partner with organizations like the Blaine County Hunger Coalition to meet the needs of our students year round."
Crocker says making sure their students have enough to eat is just one part of providing a 21st century education.
Sept. 6, 2012.