Fewer summer meals served

Despite multiple rainy days, more than 10,000 meals were given away to hungry students and adults in June and July through a federally funded program.

Three school districts provided free meals to their students and parents during the summer, but one of the three served 3,000-plus fewer meals than last year.

Thirteen locations were set up throughout Johnson County for students to get a free lunch during the week. A few of the locations were in school buildings, including Greenwood’s Northeast Elementary School, but others were set up in neighborhood spots, such as Summerfield Park in Greenwood and Northwood Apartments in Franklin.

Heavy rain fell in the county in June and July, so much so that Clark-Pleasant school district officials marked when rain affected meal sites. For some of the outdoor serving sites, students either had difficulty getting to the site itself or didn’t want to grab lunch in the rain.

Despite the rain, Greenwood’s Northeast Elementary School site served about 1,100 more meals this summer compared with last year.

Money for the summer food programs comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and school districts are reimbursed based on the number of students fed. School districts chosen for the programs have a higher percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.

In Franklin, 43 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-priced lunches. In Clark-Pleasant, 46.5 qualify; and in Greenwood, 46.6 qualify.

Last year, Clark-Pleasant served nearly 14,000 lunches, compared with 10,278 this year.

For nine days of the summer program, rain closed as many as four Clark-Pleasant meal sites. If the sites stayed open during rainy days, dreary weather significantly affected the number of meals served that day. For example, the meal site at Greenwood Estates ranged from serving 58 meals on a sunny day to 23 on a rainy day. During thunderstorms, the Greenwood Estates site was closed.

In total, Clark-Pleasant served fewer meals than two years ago, when it provided about 11,000 for the summer. The average number served per day dropped from 410 meals last year to 302 this year.

Greenwood, with one meal site, saw an increase. Last year, Greenwood served about 1,200 meals, but this year it served 1,349 meals, food services director Cheryl Hargis said.

The average number of meals per day stayed relatively the same as last year, with about 19 meals per day in June and 58 per day in July, Hargis said.

Clark-Pleasant offered meals for both students and adults, while Greenwood offered free lunches to only children.

Franklin is still compiling its serving numbers from the summer, food services director Jill Overton said.

At the start of the summer, Greenwood and Franklin saw a strong number of students picking up lunch at their combined seven locations.

By the numbers

Three school districts offered free meals this summer for students and adults. But heavy rain in June and July limited the number of students showing up or the number of sites that were open. Here’s a look at how many students were served through the program countywide. Franklin’s figures were not available.



Number of serving sites: 6

Total lunches served: 10,278

Average number of children served per day: 302


Number of serving sites: 6

Total lunches served: 13,961

Average number of children served per day: 410



Number of serving sites: 1

Total lunches served: 1,349

Average number of children served per day: 19 in June, and 58 in July (during summer school)


Number of serving sites: 1

Total lunches served: 1,284

Average number of children served per day: 16 in June, 60 in July