The Crookston School District, and USDA with help from the United Way of Crookston, are hosting the Eat United Free Summer Food Service again this summer.
The free grab-and-go meals are served Monday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Highland School (801 Central Avenue North). The meals are free for all youth 0 to 18 years of age and are served on a first-come first-serve basis.
To get the meals, drive to the front of Highland School between 11:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and walk to the main entrance of the school. A school employee will meet you at the doors.
The school employee will ask how many meals you will need. Children don’t have to be present in order to pick up the meals.
One breakfast and one lunch will be provided to each child under the age of 18.
The program served 185 meals on Monday. On Tuesday, they served over 200 and on Wednesday they served 237 meals. Crookston School District Food Service Director Anna Ogaard-Brekken said the meals have been popular in the first week. “We have been pretty happy. We started out pretty high on Monday and we have been increasing the past couple of days,” said Brekken. “We had Rick Niemela (Crookston School District grounds director) and the City of Crookston put out some picnic tables and garbage cans for us and it is fun to see families and kids in activities coming out and utilizing it.”
The menu will have a variety of easy-to-eat meals. “We do simple meals and try to have a variety and try to pick some of the kid’s favorites,” said Brekken. “This week we have done hamburgers, chicken patties, hot dogs, and on Thursday we will have cheese pizza. We will also have chicken strips or nuggets, we will probably do pepperoni pizza, corn dogs, Mr. Rib, grilled chicken on a bun, so those are just some of the simple sandwiches we are going to offer and a little more than a deli sandwich.”
Brekken said the more meals they serve the better it is for everybody. “This program is available for all children in our community up to 18 years old and the kids don’t have to be present. One person from the family can come and get meals for all children 0 to 18 years,” said Brekken. We get reimbursed by the federal government based on meals served. The more meals we give away, that brings our cost down then we actually get more reimbursements. We want to give, give, give to all those that need it for financial activities or for the kids that are in a bunch of activities to get a quick meal in between activities. It is also for those that don’t feel like cooking a meal and want to come get a quick meal. It is here for the community and the more people that use it, the more we can offer it.”
Brekken also thanked the organizations that have volunteered to help this summer and she said without them they couldn’t operate the program. The organizations provide 1 to 2 employees each day for the week they have volunteered, and they are the faces the community sees when they come to pick up a meal! The volunteers are listed below –
AgCountry Farm Credit Services
American Crystal Sugar
City of Crookston
Crookston Public School District
Polk County Public Health
Trinity Lutheran Church
United Way of Crookston
Ogaard Brekken can be contacted at 218-281-5313 x 7 or at email@example.com.