North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Summer program provides nutritious meals for kids


Christopher Andersson

Norah Abdilkareem, left, and Sarah Abdilkareem eat at one of the lunches provided by the Marysville School District at Shoultes Elementary during the summer on July 12.

The Marysville School District has begun providing free lunches again this summer to any child 18 or younger at many sites across the city.

District staff are distributing the meals during specific hours at Allen Creek Elementary, Cascade Elementary, Liberty Elementary, the Beach Street Boys & Girls Club, the Wellington Apartments and the Cedar Grove Apartments.

Most locations run Monday through Friday. More information on the times and days is available at

The program will continue until Aug. 17. Children do not have to be enrolled in a Marysville school to participate.

The free lunches are meant to support families who may participate in free or reduced lunches for meals during the school year.

"Could you imagine if you have kids that get up and come to school because they're hungry," said LaToya Morris, child nutrition director for the Marysville School District.

Children also come to the lunch program to spend time with friends, said Morris.

"They like the menu options, it's a safe space, and the camaraderie because a lot of them are friends and ride their bikes to hang out," she said.

Local parents said their kids have fun coming down to the program.

"I like it. I think its neat and the kids enjoy it," said parent Sherry Homan.

Many enjoy getting to spend time with other local kids.

"It's a good program. They come here maybe three times a week and they enjoy it, talking to their neighbors," said parent Suliman Abdilkareem.

"They have a good time and get their tummies nice and full," he said.

Many locations provide both a breakfast and lunch this year, and the menu has been changed a bit this year.

"We went from more of the cold sandwiches from last year to hot, fulfilling meals," said Morris.

"We were doing snacks last year, but this year we're doing breakfast instead. They get more components like pancakes, french toast and breakfast foods versus animal crackers and yogurt," said Morris.

Many families liked the bigger breakfasts that have been offered this year.

"They were happy that we switched to breakfast because a lot of kids come later and they're hungry and we were just giving them the snacks," said Morris.

The program has fruits and vegetables available every day as well.

Most of the funds for the program come from a federal program and not from the district's budget.

Morris said that some districts run the program for less of the summer or only at schools that are running summer school or other programs, but the Marysville School District wants to keep the program running across the city.

Their highest traffic locations typically draw 40 to 60 children each day, said Morris.

Last year the program served a total of 13,451 students, and they hope to serve around 20,000 this year.

The program is free for children, and parents can also enjoy a meal at a cost of $4 for breakfast and $4.50 for lunch.


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