Wednesday, July 2 2014, 09:01 PM CDT
No charge for meal programs
Several sites around the Rogue Valley offer no charge meal programs for students and the community.
Breakfast and lunch are given during the week, but less people are coming to dig in.
"I think it's of utmost importance for families who don't have those resources at home, Melinda Lidbetter said.
Lidbetter is the general manager for the Phoenix/Talent School District and manages the summer food service program. She says even though food is provided at no charge for children between 1 and 18 years of age and only $2 or $3 for adults, less people are taking advantage of the food programs.
"The economy certainly hasn't been in the best shape. It declining should increase our food services, but it doesn't seem to be doing it," she said.
Lidbetter says she does all she can to get the word out, including press releases to various media outlets, flyers posted around town and auto-call systems to households in the district.
"Every year we try to think of different ways to reach people. This year, the flyers are new and auto-call is new. Anything we can do to promote it and make people aware that it's there," she said.
Lidbetter points out the program is not free, but rather no charge.
She showed statistics from may 2014 showing phoenix/talent and medford school districts. The statistics show between 50 and 70 percent qualified for no or reduced charges for meals.
"That's what this program is for, to feed those kids that might not have that amount of food available to them at home," she said.
Lidbetter says she doesn't know why familes aren't taking adavantage of the programs. But we found wrong information could be contributing to some confusion.
Medford School District's page even had the incorrect times for the meal distributions. But Lidbetter says they've done all they can so no one goes hungry.
"We put it on the elementary menu for June. We put all of the summer sites and times on that. Hopefully that'll bring an influx of people," she says.
Lidbetter says the no charge meal program is subsidized by Oregon's department of education.