MCPS Summer Meal Program Kicks-Off (Video)
Montgomery County Councilmember Valerie Ervin and Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) board member Shirley Brandman joined other community members on June 27 at Springbrook High School in White Oak to discuss the importance of continuing the free MCPS Summer Food program.
Larry Bowers, the chief operating officer of MCPS; Brooke McCauley of Maryland Hungers Solutions; and Molly McCloskey of Share Our Strength are among those who participated in today’s event.
“In 2007, I initiated a working group that recommended expanding the Summer Food program to more needy kids throughout the county,” said Councilmember Ervin. “This year, I am happy to see sites serving nutritious, hot lunches, which will help increase participation.”
Each summer, MCPS serves children free meals as part of a variety of summer programs. In 2007, there were 79 sites. This summer, nearly 9,000 students will receive meals at 117 locations, including the eight walk-in locations, where children 18 and under can come in for a free meal. Last year, the Summer Food Service Program served more than 217,000 meals.
This summer, the Summer Food Program is implementing a new program at school-based sites serving large groups of children. At these sites, the kitchens will provide both cold and hot meals through the cafeteria lines. This service will be offered at 47 locations around the county.
The first walk-in center opened in 2007. The Summer Food Program is aimed at increasing the number of eligible children who have healthy food options during the summer.
“Access to high-quality, nutritious food for children is one of my top priorities,” said Councilmember Ervin. “Low income children are at the greatest risk of food insecurity and often the meals that they do receive lack the vitamins and nutrients essential for their development, which can have a dramatic impact on student achievement.”
As of October 2012, about 33 percent (49,344) of Montgomery County students qualified for Free and Reduced Meals (FARMs), a poverty indicator and a figure that may be higher due to underreporting. While the lunch participation rate for students eligible for FARMs has fluctuated, MCPS Food and Nutrition Services reports an increase in participation in the school breakfast and supper programs.
“Many children depend on the meals they receive at school as their primary source of nutrition,” said Councilmember Ervin. “The Summer Food Program is a key link to providing nutrition to students—especially the one-third of students who qualify for free and reduced meals—when school is out.”
Montgomery County Public Schools has sponsored the Summer Food Program since 1976. The program is operated with federal funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. From 2006 to 2012, participation in the program has increased by 24 percent.
“We are grateful for the federal, state and local partnerships that continue to make the Summer Meals program possible, and I want to thank Councilmember Ervin and all of our county leaders for their advocacy and commitment,” said Christopher S. Barclay, president of the Montgomery County Board of Education. “I look forward to strengthening these and other partnerships to meet the needs of our children and their families.”
Joshua P. Starr, Superintendent of Schools, said: “The staff and community of Montgomery County Public Schools has a year-round commitment to making sure our students have access to nutritious, well-balanced meals. The Summer Meals Program is just one way we are working together to support the health and well-being of our students and families.”
Marla Caplon, Director of MCPS Food and Nutrition Services explains the Summer Food program in this video.
Visit our PEG partner MCPS TV to view more of its local programming.
The free, walk-in programs will operate through Aug. 23 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at most sites. The programs are available at the following sites:
- Argyle Middle School, 2400 Bel Pre Road, Silver Spring
- Fox Chapel Elementary School, 19315 Archdale Road, Germantown
- Gaithersburg Elementary School, 35 N. Summit Ave., Gaithersburg
- Maryvale Elementary School, 1000 First Street, Rockville
- Kennedy High School, 1901 Randolph Road, Silver Spring
- Millian Memorial UMC, 13016 Parkland Drive, Rockville
- New Creation Church, 11005 Dayton Street, Wheaton
- Seneca Creek Community Church, 13 Firstfield Road, Gaithersburg