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Familes participate in free meal offering at PR schools

A free meal program offered this past summer in the Park Rapids schools attracted more than just hungry children.

"A lot of families came," said Food Services Director Pat Stearns in a report to the Park Rapids School Board Monday night.

Stearns reported that the district served 1,225 free breakfasts, 1,818 free lunches and 420 snacks.

"It was a benefit to the food shelf," which reported a decreased need during the six weeks the school program ran, Stearns said.

The program ran between June 16 and July 24. Although such programs have been offered for several years, this summer was Park Rapids' first time to offer the meals.

Minnesota's Department of Education administers the program, which is 100 percent federally funded.

Park Rapids qualified because of the number of free and reduced cost meals it offers during the school year, which exceeds 50 percent.

Stearns said the district will offer the plan again next summer, but likely without snacks.

"This was a huge success," said Superintendent Glenn Chiodo. "It was a benefit to the community."