Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

June 12, 2013

Food for thought

Free summer lunch programs benefit area kids.

[Editor’s note: The Kokomo-Center Schools board voted Monday to change the district’s name to Kokomo School Corp. The Kokomo Tribune will refer to the district by that name from now on. For more details about the name change, see the breakout box titled “District changes name.”]

Ten-year-old Elijah Belcher tightly wrapped a tortilla stuffed with meat, cheese and veggies Tuesday and hand fed it to his 3-year-old sister.

All around the clubhouse at Garden Square Apartments, children shoved soft-shell tacos into their mouths, trying hard not to spill the contents in their laps.

It was the second day of the Kokomo School Corp. Summer Food Service Program. By noon, nearly 30 kids showed up at the apartment complex for a free meal.

Schools, parks and recreation services, nonprofits and churches across the nation are serving these free meals as part of a summer program funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Summer food programs help lower-income students return to school ready to learn and help parents stretch their food dollars at home during the summer months.

“Feeding programs are vital to education,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said. “Hungry kids cannot learn or retain knowledge effectively. Good nutrition is essential for learning in school, but hunger does not take a summer vacation.”

There are four Howard County sites this year. Kokomo Schools operates one at Garden Square and one at Carver Community Center. Taylor Community Schools runs one at Taylor Primary School in Indian Heights. According to the Indiana Department of Education, Kokomo Rescue Mission also has an open site at its facility. They couldn’t be reached Tuesday to confirm that, though.

Eight-year-old Landen Johnson sucked chocolate milk through a straw and quickly gobbled up the tacos, green beans and peaches on his plate at Garden Square. He was still hungry, though.

“I’m going to get seconds later,” he said.

The lunch was tasty, he decided. But pizza is his favorite. He will definitely be back today when it’s served, he said. It will provide the needed fuel for his baseball game tonight.

Kokomo Schools works hard to choose foods that kids like to eat, said Dave Barnes, director of communications for the district.

They serve foods like chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers, sub sandwiches, hot dogs with coney sauce, vegetables, fruit and milk.

It’s important they make it appetizing, Barnes said.

“For some of these kids, it’s the only meal they will have today,” he said. “We know the reality from what they tell us at school.”

Jackie Peden knows this all too well.

She lives in Garden Square and has volunteered with the summer food program since 2004.

In those nine years, she has gotten to know the children in the neighborhood well. She watches them on the playground to help parents on occasion. And she sees them summer after summer when she serves them lunch.

“I’m making certain ones eat,” she said Tuesday. “I know the home situations.”

For years, she would knock on doors to tell kids about the food program. Health issues prevented her from doing that this year.

But she won’t stop serving meals. It’s her way of giving back to the community, she said.

“I love to do it,” she said. “I wait all winter for this. I don’t have any children, but I love kids.”

Barnes said the free lunch program wouldn’t happen without volunteers like Peden.

Last year those volunteers served 3,054 meals at the district’s three open sites throughout the summer.

Peden is just glad the program is out there and available to those who need it.

“It’s very important,” she said. “It should be everywhere.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Question Time: Name a baby (or babies) today

    “Imagine you’re having a baby (or babies) today. What would you name it (or them) and why? (You can give answers for a girl, a boy or both; and any combination for twins, triplets, etc.)”

    April 20, 2014

  • 400SUnion.jpg Counties move forward with flood mitigation one year later

    One by one, properties were bulldozed from the neighborhood between Carter and Murden streets in downtown Kokomo, physically erasing evidence of residential flooding in an area long prone to it.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Flooded area - E Murden 01 Jaimz family seeks closure after losing everything Ashley Jaimz and her sister, Amanda Urbina, took a drive through the Cedar Crest neighborhood the other day to view how residents were faring in the wake of a Nov. 17 tornado. The drive was intended to provide some closure to Jaimz, who is still stru

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - FEMA 03 Kokomo resident whose basement collapsed during flood repairs own home

    Walter Raderstorf can still remember sitting in his living room inside his home on West Park Avenue, realizing he had escaped a brush with death. “I was in the basement carrying stuff up and I came in here and sat down,” he said. “It wasn’t 30 second

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Late Kokomo teacher dedicates estate to foundation Longtime Kokomo School Corp. teacher Holly Kirkpatrick will continue to have a positive impact on students thanks to a $38,000 donation from her estate to the Kokomo Public Schools Education Foundation. Kirkpatrick died in November 2012 after teachin

    April 20, 2014

  • flood anniversary Thomas family ready to move on after flood In the Thomas household, few things take precedent over baseball. You’d be hard-pressed to find a couple more dedicated to youth baseball in Kokomo — or anywhere else for that matter — than Michael and Lashanda Thomas, who have passed that love of th

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • EasterEgg hunt 10 'Controlled chaos' at city's Easter egg hunt With buckets and Easter baskets in hand, hundreds of kids 10 years old and younger packed Kokomo's Northwest Park Saturday to see who could grab up the most Easter eggs. Organizers split the kids up in three age groups, 0 to 3, 4 to 6 and 7 to 10, wi

    April 20, 2014 4 Photos

  • NWS-FloodFollowDay2-15.jpg April flood brought people together to bail out community

    [Editor’s note: On April 19, 2013, a record flood hit Howard and Tipton counties. Today, we look at some of the financial aspects of the flood. In Sunday’s edition, look for stories about people who were affected, what has changed in the floodplains and how the communities are moving forward.]

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS-KT041914-TwoinjuredinMiamiCocrash-CLG-pic.jpeg Two injured in Miami County crash

    PERU — Two people were injured Thursday afternoon in a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of U.S. 24 and Ind. 19.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Farmer loses seat belt fight on appeal

    Denver-area farmer Thomas Fox doesn’t like to wear his seat belt.
    But after his lengthy fight with the Indiana courts over a seat belt violation, Fox may be rethinking his stance.

    April 19, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries