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Summer meals for kids in Lane County look a little different this year

Summer food program
Food for Lane County
Food for Lane County's program is smaller this year than in 2020 or 2021 because there are more summer school camps.

For the past two years, the government eased some requirements for summer food programs. That means there are a few differences this year.

Rory Sweeney is Food for Lane County’s summer food manager. She told KLCC while families have become used to grab-and-go food, new funding rules mean they’re encouraging kids to stay on site. “We have switched to giving the children paper plates and then giving their food on that to try and help incentivize children staying," she said, "because if the child leaves we do not get any form of reimbursement for that meal.”

Sweeney said that’s a big deal since Food for Lane County serves 900 meals a day in places that aren’t served by schools. She said meals may also look different throughout the summer because of supply issues, adding, “It’s definitely been an interesting time with supply chains. It’s a week-by-week situation. We have one main vendor and they are very stressed to say the least. It’s random things like yogurt, bread sometimes, which, we make a lot of sandwiches, so that impacts us a lot.” She said vegetables and fruit have not been impacted.

In addition to Food for Lane County, the Eugene School District 4J offers breakfasts and lunches at six schools. Kids up to age 18 can eat free with no enrollment requirements, and youth there must also eat meals on site.

People can find their closest summer food program at this website.
Information on Food for Lane County's programs is here. They'll offer nutrition education programming in August at the sites in Veneta, Junction City and Creswell. Information on Eugene 4J summer meals is here.

Karen Richards has been a KLCC reporter since the fall of 2012.