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Under 18 eat free all summer

2010-06-16T00:00:00Z 2010-06-16T00:02:52Z Under 18 eat free all summerBy ALANA LISTOE Independent Record Helena Independent Record
June 16, 2010 12:00 am  • 

The Helena School District is making it easier for area children to eat healthy lunches this summer.

The Kids Feed ’n’ Fun program provides a free lunch to anyone under 18 at Memorial Park and Bryant Elementary from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday from now until Aug. 20.

More than 130 children showed up to eat lunch at Memorial Park on Monday, which is about 20 more than last year’s average.

Delaney Knudson, 10, walked through the buffet-style lunch on Tuesday and first used the motion-sensored hand sanitizer. She opened up a small brown paper lunch sack, and as she walked along the table she picked up a salami sandwich, an orange and a carton of milk.

She was happy to take a break from listening to a story, playing musical chairs and making monster masks to enjoy her meal. The only item she didn’t eat from her free lunch was a little bag of carrots.

“I just wasn’t in the mood for carrots,” Knudson said.

The carrots didn’t end up in the garbage, though. There are no seconds for lunch, but a “share table”  provides a place to collect foods children dislike and others are welcome to help themselves to the discarded, unopened items.

In previous years free lunches in summer months were provided by Rocky Mountain Development Council and Helena Food Share, but this year they’ve passed the summer-lunch torch to the district.

During the school year, Sodexho, the food service provider for the district, feeds about 6,000 children every day between breakfast, lunch and a la carte.

It’s because of that, says Sodexho manager Robert Worthy, his crew is equipped to continue that service during summer months.

“Lunch is really nice for the kids … we don’t have to worry about everyone having a lunch because often they forget — and these lunches are healthy, too,” said Tashina Waltz, recreation leader with Kay’s Kids at Memorial Park.

Jannice Odermann oversees the Kay’s Kids summer recreation program at five sites, one of which is Memorial Park.

“The food enhances my program in that parents don’t have to come up with the money (to buy lunch) and we don’t have to figure out storing them,” Odermann said. “I’m very impressed with the lunches, which always have fruit, a vegetable and milk — I appreciate the quality, and it’s healthy.”

This week Sodexho is sticking to cold sandwiches until the program settles in, but starting next week children will have a hot-lunch option. Monday’s lunch menu at Memorial is a chicken sandwich followed by pepperoni pizza subs on Tuesday. A complete lunch menu can be found at

For more information about the food program contact Worthy at 461-7939.

Reporter Alana Listoe: 447-4081 or

Copyright 2015 Helena Independent Record. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(11) Comments

  1. ModerateD
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    ModerateD - June 23, 2010 6:49 am
    huh?? the money to help these poor kids EAT comes from the federal government. you folks want to take some food from poor kids, why don't you go down there and tell the kids to their faces that you think they shouldn't have it. i hope if my family ever falls on hard times that we'll still have the ability to feed our kids.
  2. luvmykidz
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    luvmykidz - June 22, 2010 8:25 am
    I would do anything to help a child in need; but how many of these children actually need the free lunch and how many just have lazy parents or day care providers! I know of two daycares that let the older kids go to the park and play and eat free lunch! I am paying my daycare to feed my kids, and that lunch should be for kids who really need it!! I am ashamed to be a part of a community who will use people and services every chance they get. What is wrong with people these days!!!
  3. blueman13
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    blueman13 - June 17, 2010 11:51 am
    Here is the problem with the program. Where is the money coming from? If it is school money then I have a problem with it. Those taxes are meant for education, not free lunches to poor kids. If the government wants to fund this program (which I think is fine) then let them do it with money that is intended for it, not just take it from some other pot that fits the current bill.
  4. Independent
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    Independent - June 16, 2010 5:00 pm
    last year one of the folks who helps with the program asked me to bring my kids to pump up the numbers. I chose to feed my kids myself. if a child needs a meal or an adult for that matter I am all for it, I wonder how many of these kids are truely hungry and how many are lazy parents. I really don't know.
  5. jlarsen
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    jlarsen - June 16, 2010 3:30 pm
    Oldschool and Independent, just wait, the day is coming when you or your spouse will lose your job, and that free lunch for you children will begin to look mighty attractive. You don't think the great recession is going to bottom out with Montana at a mere 7.1% unemployment do you? Well, don't worry, the rest of us here WON'T judge you when you send your kids to the free lunch line. I'm still eating the potatoes I gathered from the lawn at the Salvation Army Church. Until recently I was used to buying my own potatoes, and I look forward to doing it again in the future when I finally land a job. Considering the article doesn't say where the funds for these lunches come from, if in years past it has been Food Share and the Rocky Mountain Development council. The article merely said that the torched was passed to the district, so it is a stretch to assume that the state or school district is paying for it just because they are distributing it. They may well be, or it could still be the RMDC and F.S. paying for it, or it could even be a federal grant. Of course we all know that sports, drama, band and speech are more important than food. Do you really believe that people think these programs are "free?" Do you think people who normally have the money to feed their children ENJOY sending them to the free lunch line?
  6. 4mykids
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    4mykids - June 16, 2010 2:49 pm
    Independent and oldschool- I am a strong conservative and also do not enjoy paying taxes but I would NEVER want a child to go hungry because of this. This is not a welfare system; this is a community feeding children that would otherwise go hungry. I think you both need a wakeup call. Unemployment is high, and that doesn't count the out of work self employed contractors and such. Should the kids really be punished because of our economy or even if they just have lazy parents? Lets give them some credit and hope and pray that they don't become another welfare recipient some day. Instead of pass judgment on the children lets say a prayer that they all go to bed with a full belly. Punish the parents all you want, pass your judgment (although you have no right) but leave the kids out of it. I would give my right arm if it would mean that children were given a chance to better themselves. Open your hearts for crying out loud these are helpless children that have no control over their parents.

  7. Laces_1
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    Laces_1 - June 16, 2010 1:05 pm
    Way to go Helena for stepping up to the plate and giving a kid a meal. Not everybody is blessed to get more than one meal a day and it is nice to hear that the people in our community who are in a position to help are helping. Montana has an unemployment rate of 7.1% as of April. How many are parents? I know as a parent I would go without to ensure that my kid got a good healthy meal at night, but what about the day? They eat more than once you know. Oldschool, this is definitely what our school is supposed to be doing. What you don't think kids learn when their bellies are empty. We're talking about children. Don't go "Scrooging" things up because you think you shouldn't have to pay. I most definitely will pay a little more in taxes to feed some kids.
  8. The Big L
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    The Big L - June 16, 2010 12:58 pm
    I'm not interested in forcing our children to go hungry just to prove a point to the parents.
  9. MT2010
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    MT2010 - June 16, 2010 10:28 am
    What is the huge deal. Weather you want to believe it or not, there are a lot of kids that count on that hot meal at school. If they do not get a meal at school, they would not eat. I would certainly rather see my tax dollars going to feed our community than a lot of other ridiculous things my money is spent on! I support the program 100%. You might be suprised how many of your neighbors are getting help feeding there families now days. Just because they do not look like or tell you they are on some type of assistance does not mean they are not. As long as my Tax dollars are being used i nthe community I am happy!
  10. Independent
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    Independent - June 16, 2010 9:18 am
    lets force a welfare state. get them freebees as kids and they will demand entitlements their whole lives.And the teachers need more money. WOW, vote down a levy and they cut the most visible programs, sports, drama, band, speech, but we have money to hook them for live on "free" programs.
  11. oldschool
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    oldschool - June 16, 2010 7:53 am
    It's no wonder the State can't afford to buy books and computers for our students. They are too busy giving away free lunches! This is why the State got sued because they weren't spending our tax money prudently. I didn't agree to pay additional taxes to fund free lunch programs. That is NOT what our educations system is meant to be doing.

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