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Free lunch program for kids under 18 in Bismarck this summer

Published: Jun. 6, 2022 at 6:58 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - If you’re under 18, you are eligible for a free lunch this summer.

“I have a little boy who is eight and a little girl who is six, and it fills them up, and it’s a blessing too. It helps with our grocery bills,” said Molly Stisser.

With the rise in food prices, the free lunch program is a great way to reduce food costs.

“They really want to promote so kids have something during the summer, so yeah, definitely for anybody that has to feed a lot of kids come out and utilize these parks and your kids to the parks or the schools to eat for free,” said Michelle Wagner, child nutrition program director.

Last year, the free lunch program was feeding over 800 kids every day.

The food being served here is fresh, but it was ordered this past winter due to food shortages.

“Most of the food we’re using right now we actually ordered back in February, and so that’s how far ahead we’ve had to plan. Yeah, at least five to six months is what we were looking at to make sure we had food here for the kids,” said Wagner.

Some of the school lunch options are slimmer this year also due to food shortages.

“This is our third year coming. We live up the road, and it’s so convenient to come right down here. It’s fun to play at the park, and I do enjoy that all of the meals are healthy,” said Stisser.

June 6th through July 19th, the children are offered a hot lunch complete with milk, fruit, and vegetables.

“I think families have gotten used to coming to the parks and utilizing that, and I think with the cost of food and what it is now if you can come and get a free meal, I think more families are going to take advantage of it,” said Wagner.

Bismarck Public Schools offer free lunches at 15 sites. More information regarding specific locations can be found on their website.

The free lunch program heavily depends on volunteers through United Ways of North Dakota. If you’re interested in volunteering for the free lunch program, you can contact Missouri Slope Areawide United of Bismarck.

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