PARKERSBURG - Wood County Schools will again provide meals for students this summer as part of its Summer Food Service Program.
The program is funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is open to all students in Wood County Schools.
Beverly Blough, director of food services, said the program has been offered for more than 30 years.
"It is something we are very proud to provide to the community," she said. "The need for quality, nutritious meals continues throughout the summer."
The county averages 22-25 feeding sites a year that operate various times, with many serving lunch and a snack and some providing breakfast. Some sites are affiliated with specific programs, such as summer school, are only open to participating students, but there are several sites that are open to the general public.
Some may operate for only a few weeks, depending on the program, while others will run through the summer. The program is open to all children ages 18 and younger who would like to participate.
Blough said programs will start June 17, but officials do not yet know how long programs will run because the upcoming school calendar has not been set.
John Merritt, director of Title I for Wood County Schools, presented the figures to the board earlier this year.
Fifty six percent of the county's students are on the free and reduced lunch programs, up 4 percent from 2011. It was 49 percent in 2010. Of 12,470 students, almost 7,000 qualify.
Enrollment at six schools is more than 80 percent eligible, with two - Jefferson and Fairplains - close to 90 percent eligible.
Merritt told the board the poverty numbers are up by about 800 students, despite an overall decrease in student enrollment.
He said it was the first time could recall all of the county schools eligible for the free and reduced lunch program. Greenmont is at the 35 percent threshold, making it eligible for a targeted program. Any school with more than 40 percent of its enrollment that qualifies for the lunch program is eligible for a school-wide program.
"It is something that is very needed in our community, especially seeing the number of children who are receiving free and reduced lunch during the school year.," Blough said.
For more information on the summer food program, contact Wood County Schools Food Service Department at 304-420-9663, Ext.141.