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Summer Feeding program to kick off June 24

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Organizers of the federal Summer Feeding Program in Jefferson County hope to do more with less this summer.

While fewer feeding sites will host breakfast, lunch and snacks for children, the program still expects to provide tens of thousands of nutritious meals.

“More sites are getting away from breakfast and going to snack,” said Mary J. Mathewson, family center coordinator at the Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County. “People are also working on getting activities in at those sites.”

CAPC oversees the Summer Feeding Program at 17 sites from Watertown to Carthage and at Fort Drum and the area surrounding the post. The Watertown City School District will host four sites. There are four sites fewer than in 2012. Last year, through CAPC alone, 1,130 breakfasts, 12,375 lunches and 6,758 snacks were provided.

The program relies on volunteers, and more are needed to serve as substitute helpers. Mrs. Mathewson said town and village recreation programs that offer Summer Feeding have paid staff to help, but sites in the city struggle to have enough volunteers.

“I’d love to have more sites than what we have, but the lack of volunteering hinders that,” she said. “I get phone calls about people wanting to volunteer, but sometimes that’s where it ends. Summers are tough.”

Ms. Mathewson said she would love to see a Summer Feeding host site in the Brownville/Dexter area and in the southern part of Jefferson County.

Typical breakfasts served by CAPC- and Watertown City School District-sponsored sites are cereal, milk and juice. CAPC sites serve cold lunches only, such as a sandwich, milk, fruit and vegetable, while the school district sites will have a mix of cold and hot lunches. Ms. Mathewson said snacks may vary from pepperoni, cheese and crackers to dry cereal to Graham crackers.

Brenda L. Blount, Watertown City School District assistant food service director, said the school’s program is steady all summer long.

The Summer Feeding Program is for any schoolchild 18 and younger, or 21 and younger if the person is disabled.

The program runs from June 24 to Aug. 30, with varying times and dates for each site. For specific locations, call Ms. Mathewson at 782-4900, ext. 233, or Watertown City School District food service director Craig P. Orvis at 785-3717.

CAPC will host a kickoff event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 26 at the Village of Carthage Park, 1 Park Drive. A nutritious lunch and activities for children will be provided.

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