JCPS plans to expand its Bus Stop Cafe program this summer.
Anita Jennings works in the cafeteria at Meyzeek Middle School. She says hungry students sometimes ask for a second lunch.
Programs like the Bus Stop Cafe are open to all children, whether or not they attend JCPS school.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- JCPS wants to make sure no child goes hungry during the summer. Here's how you can take advantage of the district's largest summer meals effort to date.
Anita Jennings works in the cafeteria at Meyzeek Middle School on south Jackson Street near downtown Louisville. Everything about her screams quintessential lunch lady. From her heart-filled candor to the heartbreak she shares remembering kids who didn't have enough.
"I've seen quite a few of them over the years and they would come through and ask for a second meal and we would give them that second meal," Jennings said. "It brings me to tears for the simple fact that a lot of them don't have food at home."
That's why when classes end for the year this Thursday, Jennings' kitchen won't close. Meyzeek Middle School is one of more than 100 locations across Louisville offering free summer meals to anyone 18 and under.
"They don't have to show ID, no personal information, they just have to show up and go through the serving line," said Terina Edington, assistant director of nutrition for JCPS.
There's a website -- http://jcps.nutrislice.com -- where parents can find the free meal location closest to home. Choose "Summer" from the pulldown menu and enter your address. You can then choose breakfast or lunch.
"We try to open as many sites as we can during the summer so it's close enough for kids to walk," Edington said.
Despite the effort, JCPS has closed summer meal locations in the past due to low or no participation. Leaders say word is not reaching everyone in need.
Right now, more than 75,000 JCPS students eat free during the school year, and most come from low income homes.
In response the district changed the recipe on its Bus Stop Cafe program. This summer it will travel to areas with more kids, taking food into the community. The food will be brought to community centers, churches, parks, mobile home communities, and apartment complexes.
Students taking advantage of the program even have their favorites. Seventh grader Lereesha Hickman enjoys the tacos but dislikes hot dogs. David Parks, also in seventh grade, prefers the grilled cheese over the chicken.
Summer Nutrition begins May 31st. It's open to any child, regardless of income or whether they're a JCPS student. The program is funded through a federal grant from the United States Department of Agriculture. The district expects to give out 125,000 meals this year.