DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Since June, Dayton Public Schools has given out free breakfasts and lunches to Dayton residents who are 18 and younger.
It’s part of their summer food service program to make sure that children have food during the summer.
DPS’ nutrition services director, Cathie DeFehr, said the number of meals given out this summer is actually down from previous years, possibly because the community has really increased their food donations since the Memorial Day tornadoes.
“Right now we’re serving about 1500 meals a day,” said DeFehr. “That’s slightly down, maybe it was 1800 or 2000 last year.”
Last Thursday, Ruskin Elementary was serving up pizza and milk to those who showed up.
DeFehr said often times, this meal may be the only one of the day for these kids.
“We’re here to help,” said DeFehr. “It’s great if they’re doing fine, but we want to know that our kids have food available to them through the summer as well.”
She said as of now, they are seeing no changes in enrollment numbers because of the tornadoes, but they know many families are impacted by the storms.
DeFehr said their meals during the school year are already free to the students, and for the weekends, they partner with local food banks for backpack programs.
But she said they will look out for any students struggling and get them the help they need.
“The district and our teachers will mention students that they see with a particular need and they will go on the list for those backpack meals in the various schools,” said DeFehr. “It’s handled on a school by school basis.”
The final day for the summer food program is July 26.