OPELIKA, Ala. (WSFA) - This is the fourth year the Opelika City Schools system has partnered with the United States Department of Agriculture to provide free meals to kids during the summer.
School officials say they had to keep expanding the program because of how large the need for a hot, nutritious meal is for kids in the area during the summer months.
“We served almost 10,000 meals last summer and so we’re hoping that we’ll be able to do the same this year,” said Opelika City Schools Public Relations Coordinator Becky Brown.
That need is why the meals are being offered at three schools: Carver Primary, Jeter Primary and Opelika High School, and here’s a plus, you don’t have to be an Opelika city student or resident to get a free meal.
“Kids in Opelika, Auburn, Lee County, anybody in the area," said Brown. "You do not have to reside in the city of Opelika to participate in the program, so that’s the wonderful part of it. It is for children ages 18 and under. So if you’re a student, you’re welcome to come in. If we’re going to participate in the program, we open it to everyone. We just want to reach as many kids as we can.”
The program began last week and will continue through July 19. Officials say they’ll only be closed the week of July 4.
Opelika’s program is not the only summer program in the area. The USDA is also teaming up with the Alabama Department of Education for another summer feeding program at Frank Brown Recreation Center in Auburn for Auburn City School students. Loachapoka Elementary and High schools are also offering free meals to area residents through the end of June.