The CNMI Public School System Child Nutrition Program announced this week that its Summer Food Service village lunch program will start next Monday, June 13, and will run weekly from Monday to Friday, 11am to 12pm, until July 29.
The program will provide one free lunch per child.
Child Nutrition Program director Dale Roberts said this program is not necessarily just for students but for all children. He said 2-year-old children who are not attending school and are neither toddlers can still come with an older sibling or adult and pick up lunch. Even recent high school graduates who are still 17 or 18 years old are also eligible, he said.
“With food inflation, fuel inflation, and shipping issues, the help is especially important,” he added.
One Saipan, the meals may be picked up at Dandan Middle School, Francisco M. Sablan Middle School, Garapan Elementary School, Kagman Elementary School, Koblerville Elementary School, Oleai Elementary School, Gregorio T. Camacho Elementary School, or William S. Reyes Elementary School.
On Tinian, children may pick it up at Tinian Elementary School, and for Rota, pickup is at Sinapalo Elementary School or at Dr. Rita Hocog Inos Jr. and Sr. High School.
This year, instead of the “Grab and Go” style of the past two years when food was given to parents in their vehicles, the meals will be distributed in person to children at any of the designated locations.
Roberts said the SFSP is a PSS community-focused, child nutrition program and is also distributing meals at licensed daycare centers, public and private summer schools, and public and private summer camps.
Roberts said they will be starting with 100 lunches per site and will adjust daily and the number of meals prepared each day will be based on participation the day before.
“If we need to prepare more meals to meet demand, we will. If participation is low, we will reduce the meals delivered,” he said. “Participation evolves as the summer progresses and we never know how it’s going to play out. If a site has fewer than 40 kids on multiple days in a week, we will consider closing that particular site. …I expect we will serve between 200,000 and 300,000 meals this summer across all programs.”
The PSS Child Nutrition program operates under a Nutrition Assistance Grant funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Throughout the year, CNP provides CNMI children access to nutritious meals at schools, Head Start centers, daycare centers, and summer camps. All meals served fall into one of the following categories: the School Meals Program, the Summer Food Service Program, or the Child and Adult Care Food Program.