Food For Thought at Local Schools
Through a partnership with the Arkansas Department of Education's Child Nutrition Unit and the United States Department of Agriculture, the cafeterias at the Rector and Piggott School Districts are offering free meals to anyone age 18 and under. The schools are preparing lunch and breakfast daily, Monday through Friday, as part of a service created specifically for the youngest members of the communities.
The service is currently feeding an average of 60 to 75 students daily at Rector, including students enrolled in the summer preschool program.
"This is our third year to be a part of this," Rector food services director Mary Williams said. "It's worked out pretty good. We have several students who live here in town and are able to come in on their own if mom and dad can't bring them."
Williams noted the meals follow the same nutritional guidelines as those served during the school year, providing a nutritious standard for the children.
"It's a great program," Rector Elementary principal Nate Henderson said. "Mrs. Mary Williams does an outstanding job preparing this and making it available to the kids in our community. It's all federally funded, and is open to any child here."
Organizers encourage all local families with school age children to take advantage of the free service. There are no financial requirements or standards necessary for children to visit the cafeteria and receive their meals. The process is essentially the same as a typical school lunch, with children entering the cafeteria, receiving their trays and taking a seat to dine.
In Rector, the program will continue through Aug. 1, with the exception of the week of June 30 through July 4. Breakfast is served from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., and lunch is offered from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
In Piggott, the program will continue through Aug. 1 with the exception of the July 4 holiday. The meals are being served in the PHS gym, with breakfast served from 8:30 to 9:15 a.m. while lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The meals are available to all kids, regardless of income, and adult meals are available for $2 for breakfast and $3 for lunch.