“It’s cheaper on me and easier on me with three kids,” she says as she helps her youngest, 16-month-old Isaias Tecolapa with a spoonful of mashed potatoes.
With cousins sitting around the table, it’s also a family gathering.
“They get to see their cousins, and it keeps me from cooking,” she says.
Cliff Dunne, family resource center director for the Danville school system, stresses that the dinners are appetizing.
“The next day to put on your calendar is July 21. They’re having a turkey dinner. It’s regular real turkey, too. It’s meals like you serve at home.”
Stretching the budget
Having the children eat breakfast and lunch at Danville High School beefs up the family food budget, Dunne says.
“For families that are low on food, if you figure you are using your food stamps only on the weekend, you can really make them stretch.”
Margie Dievert, food services director for Danville schools, says the program has served 7,549 meals in its first 17 days.
“Last week at the end of the month when most of the food stamps were gone, we had larger participation,” says Dievert, who notes that the program is in its 19th year.
To add more value to the meal, Dunne says students in the Governors Scholars program at Centre College plan entertainment such as face painting one day a week.
He credits Taylor with making the extra meal happen.
“She really cares about this. It was her idea to try this. It’s always been part of the federal free lunch program, but nobody wanted to stay late and cook.”
Taylor says she saw a need.
“You only have to look around. We knew by looking at our free- and reduced-meals at the school, it was obvious there was a need. This school alone is over 70 percent (students who qualify for free and reduced-price meals) now,” she says, noting the district as a whole is more than 50 percent.
One obstacle for families is having wheels to go to the schools, but Taylor says it’s worth the trip.
“It may be hard for some without transportation, but if you have three or four kids, it would be worth getting the kids there.”
Taylor actually started offering supper last summer at the parks but says serving it was a nightmare.
“There’s so many guidelines, we had a hard time enforcing rules of the program. This time, we decided to have it at the schools so the weather is not a factor.”
Danville and Boyle schools offer summer food programs
The Danville and Boyle County school systems both participate in the summer food service program for children.
Danville’s program began June 7 and ends July 30. Free meals are provided to children 18 or younger. For more information, call (859) 936-8408.
Sites and times for serving meals are: Danville High School, breakfast, 8-9 a.m., and lunch, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; Jennie Rogers Elementary, breakfast, 8-9 a.m. and lunch, 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m.; Hogsett Elementary, breakfast 8-9 a.m. and dinner, 5:30-6:30 p.m.; Long Run Community Apartments, 11:30 a.m.-noon; Shaker Point Apartments, lunch, 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.; and YMCA, Harrodsburg, 8-9 a.m., and 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Salvation Army Day Camp, 8:30-9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; and Christ the Head Day Care, 8-9 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Sites and times in Boyle County are: Junction City Park, 12:30 to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday through July 23; and Junction City Baptist Church, 5:10-6 p.m. July 19-22.