Free Summer Food Program returns for students

Jun 15, 2023

The Wareham Public Schools Summer Food Program will once again provide free meals to students 18 and under starting on Tuesday, June 27.

The program will operate Mondays through Thursdays at four locations: Wareham High School; Wareham Elementary School; the Lillian Gregerman Bandshell, 1 Union Ave.; and the Woods at Wareham apartment complex, 36 Swifts Beach Road. 

The last day of the program will be Thursday, August 17. No meals will be served on Tuesday, July 4.

Students can have breakfast at the main entrance of the high school and the east side entrance of the elementary school from 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Lunch will be served at the high school from 11:15 a.m. to 12 p.m. and at the elementary school 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The Lillian Gregerman Bandshell and the Woods at Wareham will only be open for lunch from 11:50 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.

This program is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture and is open to students of any income level.

Wareham Public Schools Food Services Director Mike Russo said students are strongly encouraged to eat the meals at the distribution locations. However, they do have the option to take the meal to go.

Russo said any student who cannot come to the distribution center in person will not be able to collect a meal. Parents and guardians cannot pick up a meal on behalf of a student, nor can anyone else.

No identification is required to pick up a meal and students can only receive one meal at a time. Students cannot have more than one breakfast or lunch and they cannot receive breakfast and lunch at the same time.

He said the meals are healthy and balanced according to USDA guidelines.

According to Russo, last year’s program provided an average of 1,200 to 1,400 breakfasts and 1,300 to 1,400 lunches per week.

“There's definitely a need in our community that we are trying to meet,” Russo said. “There are many children in our community. This helps ensure that they have food security — that they're able to have a breakfast or a lunch that is available if they need it.”

Each breakfast will include a fruit, 8 ounces of milk and a grain such as a pastry or bagel with cream cheese. Each lunch will consist of a fruit, a vegetable, 8 ounces of milk, a whole grain and a protein.

Russo said for lunch, the program does have the option to serve two fruits or two vegetables instead of one of each. However, they cannot be the same fruit or vegetable.

He added the whole grain and protein portion of the meal is typically a sandwich, with warm sandwiches such as a burger or chicken patty served on Tuesdays.

He said the program is required to provide all items of each meal, and if a student is receiving a meal, they must accept all items.