📷 David Fantaroni, Chef Manager and Ellen Finelli, Food Service Director, pictured with the new school food service delivery van. Anjolina Fantaroni photo.
By Anjolina Fantaroni, Correspondent
SOUTHBRIDGE – While the Southbridge Summer Feeding Program is in full swing, kids can enjoy a healthy lunch served free of charge. This is part of the Southbridge summer feeding program, which serves lunch to children 18 and under. The summer feeding program runs at locations such as Jacob Edwards Library, Eastford Road School, Charlton Street School, West Street School, Southbridge Middle/High School, and Brookside Terrace. Jacob Edwards Library will serve lunch until Aug. 3. Other locations serve lunch until Aug. 16. The West Street School location also serves the Southbridge Recreation Program, with about 50 to 100 kids.
These locations are open to the public, so any youth 18 and under can have a free place to enjoy a meal. Grow Learning Academy is one location that feeds their summer school students only. Next year, The Southbridge Summer Feeding Program may expand to serve meals at the arts center (QVCAH). At all of the locations the food needs to be eaten on-site, and none of it can leave the room.
On Thursday, July 12, I had the privilege to visit the cafeteria at Southbridge Middle/High School, where they make all the lunches.
Ellen Finelli, the Food Service Director of Southbridge Public Schools explained, “We give kids what they want to eat. Some of them won’t eat just vegetables, but we give them other options too, such as whole-grain products, or dairy.”
Mrs. Finelli also described the outreach in Southbridge. “The program gives out a healthy lunch Monday through Friday, so kids can continue to eat a healthy lunch even when school is not in session.”
David Fantaroni, the Chef Manager at Southbridge Middle/High School stated, “The feeding program is federally funded, which means all of the food is served at no cost to students.”
Mr. Fantaroni has planted fresh basil, cilantro, Italian parsley, zucchini, tomatoes and chives on school grounds They are beginning to serve more farm-to-table lunches, which means some foods are locally grown.
The program received a grant for the planters to grow the herb and to also purchase an industrial food processor called a Robo Coupe. The machine does everything from slicing, dicing, shredding and making such items as hummus. That’s pretty cool if you ask me. For more information, please visit: www.meals4kids.org or call 1-800-645-8333.