Lawton Public Schools summer feeding program is back, beginning June 5.
Traditionally, the district provides its nutrition program to anyone in Lawton under the age of 18 for free during the summer. This year, the district is planning free breakfast and lunch at 10 school sites, along with Elmer Thomas Park and Kid’s Zone in Greer Park; the Owens Multipurpose, Patterson and H.C. King recreation centers; Lawton Family YMCA; and Grace Fellowship Church and Union Baptist Church.
Hours vary at different locations, but the basic goal is the same: ensuring youth have a good breakfast in the morning and lunch around the noon hour. And it’s available to anyone under the age of 18, even if they don’t attend Lawton Public Schools, and to any student enrolled in the Lawton School District.
Daniel Ghrayyeb, LPS child nutrition director, said most of the elementary sites selected this year are those offering summer youth camps, but district officials also selected some sites specifically because they know that many youth in those areas will use the program. In many instances, it’s a matter of proximity to those youth.
“We wanted to be somewhere where someone knows the kids could walk,” Ghrayyeb said. “They wanted the most impact. That’s what we’re doing.”
That’s also why not every site is a school. For example, Ghrayyeb said district officials decided to return to serving lunches at Kid’s Zone on Northwest 38th Street. The plan is to have a food truck available at that park for 15 minutes beginning at 11 a.m., then driving the truck to Elmer Thomas Park’s splash pad area to provide lunch there beginning at 11:30 a.m.
“It’s a red food truck,” Ghrayyeb said, of the vehicle that will be delivering meals at those parks.
Lawton High and MacArthur High were selected because they already had a target audience — student athletes — but food will be available for any youth who wants it. Athletes are the reason the Lawton High lunch service already has begun, and opens early.
“The football team comes in at 10 a.m.,” he said, of meals that will be available through 12:30 p.m.
The goal is to serve meals at most locations between June 5 and July 21 (there will be no service June 19 or July 4).
Ghrayyeb said Lawton’s nutrition services is making plans to serve up to 2,000 students a day. It’s an achievable goal, he said, adding that last year, the district routinely served more than 1,000 hungry children a day “easily.”
More information is available at the nutrition services office, 355-1150.