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CMS serving free meals to kids this summer District 95 joins CCHS in offering annual program

  • CES 95 food services summer meal workers Sharon Rawls (left) and Danielle Blythe stack the shredded chicken mixture and cheese toppings onto the chicken fajitas they made June 4, the first public day of District 95's Summer Meal program.

    CES 95 food services summer meal workers Sharon Rawls (left) and Danielle Blythe stack the shredded chicken mixture and cheese toppings onto the chicken fajitas they made June 4, the first public day of District 95's Summer Meal program.
    Photo provided

 
Submitted by Stephanie Esters
CES 95 Communications
updated: 6/14/2019 5:41 PM

Food service worker Danielle Blythe poured some taco powder into a vat of shredded chicken, the aroma almost immediately wafting over the entire food prep section inside Carbondale Middle School's kitchen.

Sharon Rawls joined her with a bin of shredded cheese, and Sherry Wyatt, further down the counter space, with stacks of an aluminum-sided food-wrapping paper and tray.

They stacked, sprinkled, tucked and wrapped until they had finished wrapping enough sets of chicken fajitas in waxed paper to feed 100 young people. That was how many children Wyatt, director of food services for Carbondale Elementary School District 95, expected to feed on the first day of lunch at the host site for the state's Summer Food Services Program.

The school district applied to be a host site and was granted the OK from the state. That means the school district will be able to serve breakfast and lunch, Monday through Friday, free to children 18 and younger, at CMS.

(The district also furnishes the free prepared food to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southern Illinois at its main site; that site's meal program is just for enrolled students.)

Breakfast is served from 7 to 8 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; those older than 18 wanting a meal may buy one for $2.75.

Carbondale Community High School is also one of the Summer Meal sites, providing food from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays.

District 95 Superintendent Daniel Booth proactively sought out the program.

"This Summer Food Service Program will ensure that our students still have access to the same nutritious meals they had during the school year," Booth said. "This is truly about providing nutritional equity during their summer break from school."

Wyatt said she and her crew of two could handle as many as 300 people per meal; if she needed more help, she is prepared to summon it, she said.

"We'd like to get it as high as we can hold it," Wyatt said.