BL Schools will host free summer meal program again

Submitted Article
School-aged children in Big Lake and surrounding communities will have a safe and familiar option to eat at over the summer again thanks to the Summer Food Service Program. 
Big Lake Schools has qualified as a hosting site for the Summer Food Service Program, which is designed to fill a nutrition gap that many children face when school is closed for the summer months. 
Any person age 18 or younger can receive breakfast and/or lunch no matter what his or her family’s household income is. Children just need to show up at Independence Elementary School between the hours of 7:45 and 8:45 a.m. for breakfast, and between the hours of 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. for lunch. 
Parents should accompany young children; however, the program does not allow free meals for parents or anyone over the age of 18. 
The Summer Food Service Program is federally funded and subsidized by grants and local sponsorships. Last year in Minnesota more than 630 sites served almost 2.4 million meals to children ages 18 and under. Each site’s continued acceptance into the program is depended on its previous year’s participation.
“Last year we were able to provide more than 9,600 meals to our community’s children,” said food service coordinator, Mary Klesk. “We are hoping to double that amount this year.”
The ability to host this program is not only dependent on funding, but on the availability of volunteers as well. Big Lake Schools is in need of several volunteers to help with this summer’s food program. Volunteer duties include cafeteria supervision, preparation of meals, and serving of meals. Any interested adult or high school student should attend the upcoming volunteer training on May 20th from 5 – 7 p.m. at Independence Elementary School’s Community Education Office. 
The Summer Food Service Program begins on June 9 and continues through August 14—with the exception of July 2 and 3, when there will be no meal service. Additionally, meals will be served Monday through Thursday. Breakfast and lunch menus will be available on the Big Lake Schools website under Students/Parents and Food and Nutritional Services. 
For questions on the Summer Food Service Program or to volunteer, please contact Mary Klesk at 763.262.7232 or


MEMBERS OF THE BIG LAKE HIGH SCHOOL CHAMBER CHOIR performed for the school board at the beginning of their last meeting. The Chamber Choir members are selected for their skills from among their peers. They were directed by Mary Ebanks. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).

DARLENE LANZ grew up just east of town and has lived in or around Big Lake all her life. She recalls what Christmas was like in Big Lake back then. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).

SHERBURNE COUNTY ATTORNEY Kathleen Heaney, taking over as MCAA President. (Submitted photo.)

Cheryl Turck and Corey Mabis of the Sherburne County Probation Dept. (Photo by Ken Francis.)

SANTA AND HIS HELPERS prepared to give out toys to 111 families at the Food Shelf Monday. The toys were all donated by one local merchant. (Photo by Ken Francis.)