GREAT FALLS — Summer is going by fast and so are free meals for children in Great Falls. Great Falls Public Schools is now in the seventh year of its summer food program, designed to give kids of all ages a healthy meal at no direct cost.
On Monday, more than 600 sloppy Joe sandwiches were made to be given out - just a fraction of what has been given this summer.
They normally expect to serve about 20,000 USDA-funded meals during the summer but last Friday, they surpassed 50,000 total meals, marking one of their busiest summers ever.
No one is sure of what exactly caused the spike, but more people are getting meals, which is the goal.
Carol Paul is a Student Services Coordinator for GFPS and says this was a pleasant surprise to be able to serve so many meals and credits a staff of workers that have done what it takes.
“I’m not sure exactly what caused it, but I know a lot of families are hurting. We’ve had a lot more families who are homeless. We have a lot of families who experienced loss last year, of jobs, of health,” she said. “Our food service program has done a really good job of letting people know that this is available, and that people can take advantage of it.”
You can find the green trailer at various parks and schools across Great Falls for several more days, as GFPS wants to help as many neighborhoods as it can before the program ends on August 11th.
Workers estimate they gave out 70,000 meals last year and hope they can exceed that number within the next ten days. For more information, call 406-454-6950.
Here is the schedule for the program, which runs through August 11th:
- Paris Gibson Education Center: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Giant Springs school: 10:50 a.m. to 11:05 a.m.
- Lions Park: 11:15 a.m. to 11:35 a.m.
- Valley View school: 12 p.m. to 12:15 p.m.
- Rhodes Park: 12:25 p.m. to 12:45 p.m.
- Gibson Park: 12:55 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.
- Longfellow school: 1:25 p.m. to 1:40 p.m.