HOPE –The Hope Public School District “Fuel Up: Feeding Bodies, Fueling Minds” summer meals program hit a new mark this year with record turnout, new activities, and its own activities bus.
Deanna Gilbert, director of nutrition services for the HPSD, said a total of 5,608 summer lunch meals were served in the period from June 2 through August 3. Gilbert had set a goal of 5,000 meals for the program, she said.
The program provided lunch meals Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. until noon at Hope Fair Park, Hope Northside Park and the Hope High School cafeteria.
A modified school bus was new for the community park visits this year, with attendant activities including a parent center, and a library for children to take a book home.
Programs for students were sponsored by the Hempstead County Master Gardeners, the Hope Fire Department, Pafford Emergency Medical Services, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the Hempstead County Sheriff’s Department, and a story time by members of the Hope Rotary Club were part of the fun this year.
“The week of Fourth of July we honored local veterans who came to speak to the students, and the Farm Bureau Women’s Committee came and did games one week,” Gilbert said.
Health screenings through the Bobcat Clinic at Hope High School were also explained to parents and students. And, assistance for the summer program was provided by Bobcat Clinic Director Gretchen Carlton, Gilbert said.
Books for the story time activity and free book distribution were provided by local community service partners and individuals, she said.