More area families are taking advantage of USD 383’s summer food program, and in June, the Manhattan-Ogden school district served 30,991 lunches, breakfasts and snacks.

“Every year, we see a little bit of an increase,” said Stephanie Smith, director of child nutrition. “We’re up about 100 for lunch and 50 for breakfast each day (from last year).”

The summer food program is possible through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program, which reimburses districts for providing nutritious meals in the summer. The program is free for all children, and no registration or paperwork is required for them to receive a meal.

Smith said since she became director 12 years ago, the program has expanded each year. In Manhattan, the district offers summer lunches at Bluemont, Lee, Northview, Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson elementary schools, as well as Manhattan High School East Campus and St. Patrick Church in Ogden. Smith said the locations are determined by the percentage of students who receive free or reduced school lunches enrolled in the particular schools or in the schools’ areas.

“Summertime hunger does not take a summer vacation,” Smith said, “and for those students that receive free and reduced meals during the school year, we want to make sure they have access to nutritious meals in the summer as well.”

Schools serve lunch between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and breakfast from 8 to 8:30 a.m. each weekday through July 26, with Theodore Roosevelt and MHS East Campus going through Aug. 2. Parents are welcome to eat with their children, Smith said, although they have to pay $3.60 for lunch and $2.35 for breakfast.

Education reporter for the Manhattan Mercury. Follow me on Twitter at @byRafaelGarcia.