Grants Pass Daily Courier Looks at Summer Hunger

The Grants Pass Daily Courier spotlighted the launch of summer food sites in their area and took a look at our summer food participation report. Read the story below. 

[Courtesy of the Daily Courier]

Free summer lunch program starts next week

By Ruth Longoria Kingsland of the Daily Courier

Who says there's no such thing as a free lunch?

Josephine County children have the option to visit several free lunch sites at local schools, parks, and community group facilities, beginning as early as Monday. Some serve breakfast, too.

Last year, 44,308 free meals were served to Josephine County students during the summer months, with an average of 967 kids participating each day.

The meals are funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and there's no income level requirements to receive the summer meals. There's also no paperwork to be fill out — all comers will be served.

Although about 6,700 students in Josephine County Schools are eligible for and participate in free lunch programs during the school year, only about 1,000 students took advantage of the summer program last year, fewer than 20 percent.

Officials fear those numbers may drop even more this year.

So, why are fewer children eating free summer lunches? Distance may be the main culprit. During the year, many students ride school buses to school, but in Josephine County, and especially Three Rivers School District, kids live so far out that many parents aren't able to get their children to the sites every day to eat lunch.

"Getting there is a big problem," said Lesley Nelson, child hunger prevention manager with Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon, an organization aimed at raising the awareness of the extent of hunger in this state and responsible for outreach for the summer lunch program.

There's no ideal solution for the problem, she acknowledges, since there's no money available to cover transportation costs.

However, it's hoped that with a bit more media exposure to the locations available, parents will try to find a way to get their kids to the nearest location, she said.

Here are the locations, dates, and times for free summer meals for students in Josephine County:

Grants Pass

  • Allen Dale Elementary: 2320 Williams Highway. Lunch: 11 to 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, June 17 to Aug. 22.
  • Fruitdale Elementary: 1560 Bill Baker Way. Breakfast: 8 to 8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday, June 16 to Aug. 22.
  • Gilbert Creek Park: 1750 N.W. Hawthorne Ave. Lunch: 11 to 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, June 17 to Aug. 22.
  • Grants Pass Boys & Girls Club: 203 S.E. Ninth St. Lunch: noon to 12:30 p.m. Snack: 3 to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, June 16 to Aug. 22.
  • Grants Pass High School: 830 N.E. Ninth St. Lunch: noon to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, June 17 to Aug. 22.
  • Grants Pass Skate Park: 820 S.E. M St. Lunch: 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Monday through Friday, June 17 to Aug. 22.
  • Grants Pass YMCA: 1000 Redwood Ave. Lunch: noon to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, June 16 to Aug. 22.
  • Lawnridge Park: 1090 N.W. Hawthorne Ave. Lunch: 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Monday through Friday, June 16 to Aug. 22.
  • Morrison Centennial Park: 1187 Rogue River Highway. Lunch: 11 to 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, June 17 to Aug. 22.
  • OSU Extension: 125 Ringuette St. Lunch: 11 to 11:30 a.m. Snack: 1:15 to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, July 14 to July 18.
  • Redwood Park: 1395 Dowell Road. Lunch: 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Monday through Friday, June 17 to Aug. 22.
  • Reinhart Volunteer Park: 1690 Webster Road. Lunch: 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Monday through Saturday, June 17 to Aug. 22.
  • Three Rivers Food Warehouse: 126 Ringuette Ave. Breakfast: 8 to 8:30 a.m. Lunch: noon to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, Aug. 11 to Aug. 16.
  • Westholm Park: 225 S.W. Wildwood Ave. Lunch: 11 to 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, June 17 to Aug. 22.

Murphy

  • Hidden Valley High School: 651 Murphy Creek Road. Breakfast: Breakfast: 8 to 8:30 a.m. Lunch: noon to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, June 16 to June 27. 
  • Lincoln Savage Middle School: 8551 New Hope Road. Breakfast: 8:15 to 8:45 a.m. Lunch: noon to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, July 7 to July 31.

Williams

  • Williams Elementary: 20691 Williams Highway. Breakfast: 8 to 8:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday. Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday, June 16 to June 26.

Merlin

  • Fleming Middle School: 6001 Monument Drive. Breakfast: 8:15 to 8:45 a.m. Monday through Thursday. Lunch: 11:45 am. to 12:15 p.m. Monday through Friday, June 30 to July 18.
  • North Valley High School: 6741 Monument Drive. Breakfast: 8:30 to 9 a.m. Monday through Wednesday. Lunch: noon to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, June 16 to June 18 (three days only during the football camp, but open to all children).

Cave Junction

  • Evergreen Boys & Girls Club: 520 W. River Road. Breakfast: 8:30 to 9 a.m. Lunch: 12:30 to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, June 16 to Aug. 22.
  • Evergreen Elementary: 520 W. River Road. Breakfast: 7:15 to 7:45 a.m. Lunch: noon to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, June 16 to Aug. 22.
  • Illinois Valley Coalition: 535 E. River St. Breakfast: 7:30 to 8 a.m. Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday, June 16 to Aug. 22.
  • Illinois Valley High School: 625 E. River St. Breakfast: 7:30 to 8 a.m. Lunch: 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Monday through Friday, July 7 to July 25.
  • Lorna Byrne Middle School, 101 S. Junction Ave. Breakfast: 8 to 8:30 a.m. Lunch: 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Monday through Friday, July 7 to July 31.