FAIRFIELD, Ohio — Fairfield City Schools is rolling out a new program to support students during their summer breaks.
Starting this year, the district is offering free weekday lunches to every student in order to make sure everyone has access to steady meals outside of schools. There will be three cold meals and two hot meals per week with a rotating menu created by the district's nutrition specialist.
"We believe that those kinds of things are the foundation and that our students will be more successful from an academic standpoint if they have some of their basic needs met," Superintendent Billy Smith said.
For some students, school lunches are the only meal they can count on getting every day. According to school officials, 40% of Fairfield students qualify for free or reduced lunch.
"It's a well-known fact that some students may miss meals when they're not in school," Smith said.
District officials are hoping the new program will make sure all students are well-fed in the summer months. Jeff Madden, the district's director of student services, said students won't even need to fill out an application.
"They just have to show up and they'll receive a free lunch," he said.
The meals will be distributed at Pinnacle on Pleasant from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., at Fairfield Acres from 11:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and Tylers Creek from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. between May 29 and Aug. 15, except for July 4 and 5 and Aug. 5.
"This program was strategic in where we placed the sites," Madden said.
Any child under 18 can get a free meal, regardless of which school they attend. Adults can also purchase lunch for $4.
"We talked at our last board meeting about the summer slide when it came to reading, academics and math. This is no different," Madden said. "Children need to be able to learn and they need to have a full stomach to be able to learn."