FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — Even though school is out, the cafeteria at Lincoln Elementary School was bustling with students getting in line for lunch. On Tuesday, they were served by two special guests.
Behind the counter and dressed in aprons were local chef Brian Voltaggio and Congressman David Trone spreading the importance of the summer meal program.
“Every six meals that we serve during the school year, we only serve one during the summer. If they’re not eating there’s not chance they’re going to be learning,” said Maryland District-6 Representative, David Trone.
The summer meal program is an extension of the school-year service and runs from the end of June until August 16 at 12 different public schools in the county.
All students under the age of 18 are allowed free breakfast and lunch.
“Last year we served approximately 32,000 meals during the summer of 2018 and our goal this year is 40,000 meals,” explained nutrition services manager for Frederick County Public Schools, Robert Kelly.
And it’s this kind of growth Trone is aiming to see in addition to an evolution of the summer meal programs here and in Washington and Montgomery Counties.
“Right now, I’ve provided $22 million more in funding to talk about the program. If it’s fun and enjoyable, the kids are going to be there. Then how do you combine that with things like the bookmobile, how do you combine it with something the parents are interested in,” Trone explained.
For now, local parents say the program is already helping to cut down on costs.
Mee Felker takes her son by the school every day for a meal.
“For the groceries and everything, yeah it helps a lot. Usually, when my son goes to school here, they provide breakfast and lunch and in summertime, I have to pay out of pocket so it really helps with the grocery bills and everything,” Felker explained.