Six years ago, the Nutrition Services team at the Douglas County School District enacted the Summer Food Service Program and served 10,000 free meals to kids and teens across the county.
This summer, Jennifer Peifer hopes to raise that number to 40,000.
“There is not a community in this country that does not need this program,” said Peifer, manager of operations for the school district's Nutrition Services team, comprising 20 employees.
Federally funded, the Summer Food Service Program is a state-administered program that reimburses school districts that serve free meals to adolescents and children in low-income areas, according to the Department of Agriculture.
Douglas County enacted the program to address a need: 11.9% percent of students in the district qualify for free or reduced lunches, according to the district. That breaks down to 8,092 students in grades pre-K through 12.
Free meals are available to those 18 and under, Monday through Friday, from May 28 to Aug. 2, at 12 sites across Parker, Castle Rock and Highlands Ranch. Menu options, which vary at each site, typically include an entrée, such as a burrito, a side of fruit and milk.
All kids and teens are welcome, and no identification is required. To locate the nearest site throughout the state, parents can use the Kids Food Finder website at kidsfoodfinder.org, or text "Food" or "Comida" to 577-577.
“It's open to any kid,” Peifer said. “There are no requirements, there are no preconceived notions about who are coming and eating at our sites.”
Where to go in Douglas County
• Centennial Park, 22 Gilbert St., from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m.
• The Pines at Castle Rock Apartments, 6221 Castlegate Drive, from 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
• Philip S. Miller Park, 1375 W. Plum Creek Parkway, from noon to 1 p.m.
• Castle View High School, 5254 N. Meadows Drive, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
• South Ridge Elementary School, 1100 South St., from 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m.
• Challenger Park, 17301 E Lincoln Ave., from noon to 1 p.m.
• Global Village Academy, 18451 Ponderosa Drive, from noon to 12:30 p.m.
• Hilltop Apartments, 19600 Clubhouse Drive, from 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m.
• Ranchstone Apartments, 17125 E. Carlson Drive, from 11:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
• Waterford Apartments, 18588 E. Mainstreet, from 11: 30 a.m. to noon
• Copper Canyon Apartments, 3380 E. County Line Road, from 11:30 to noon
• Palomino Park (for residents only), 3380 E. County Line Road, from 11:30 a.m. to noon
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