BUCKHANNON – During the summer months, many families work to rearrange their budgets to accommodate for expenses such as summer outings, extra costs for childcare and meals for children while school is not in session.

Fortunately, children ages 1 to 18 are eligible to receive free breakfast and lunches for part of the summer break. This year, the Summer Food Service Program and is being sponsored by Mountain CAP of WV, Inc.

April Spears is the director of the Summer Food Service Program in Upshur County, and Mountain CAP of WV Inc. has sponsored this program for more than four years. Spears said kids age 1 to 18 should take advantage of what’s offered.

“Basically, we are preparing students to return back to school in the fall,” Spears said. “We are making sure they are receiving nutritious meals through the summer, just as they would receive while in school.”

Spears said Mountain CAP of WV, Inc. also offers more than food during the program.

“We are mentoring the kids while they are there for the meals,” she said. “We are reading books and making a bond with the children and the families. We talk with the parents and grandparents and answer any of their questions. We want to make sure kids and their families want to come back each day for the Summer Food Service Program.”

Students are eligible for meals, and there are no income restrictions.

“We are there through the summer, and we want the kids to come out and eat,” Spears said. “It’s not income-based. We are often asked if they have to pay, and the answer is no. Students eat at the site, so we are sure they are receiving the meals. Literally, any child can benefit from the program.”

The Summer Food Service Program is federally-funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and there are no income specific guidelines for participation, meaning all children age 18 and under are eligible to receive free meals. Breakfast and lunch are available at some sites, and only lunch at others.

According to the USDA website, in 2018 this summer food program provided more than 1.5 million nutritious meals and snacks to students across the United States.

Meals will be served through July 26, each Monday through Friday, except on holidays of June 20 and July 4, at the following locations:

  • Valley Green Apartments will serve lunch from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
  • Stockert Youth & Community Center will serve breakfast from 8:30 to 9 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to noon.
  • Cleveland Avenue Park will serve lunch from 12:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.
  • Meals will be served at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School through July 3 with breakfast being served from 8:30 to 9 a.m. and lunch being served from noon to 12:30 p.m.
  • The meals at Buckhannon-Upshur High School will be served through July 16 with breakfast being served from 8:30 to 9 a.m. and lunch being served from 11:30 a.m. until noon.

Additional information about the Summer Food Service Program is available by contacting Spears at Mountain CAP of WV Inc. by calling 304-472-3391.