Local schools bridging summer gap with academic programming, camps, meals and more

NOW: Local schools bridging summer gap with academic programming, camps, meals and more

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. --Summer break is a relief for most, and students at Ballard Elementary School in Niles say they're excited to close their textbooks for a couple months.

Vikings tell me they're looking forward to trips to the beach or the pool, even the zoo. Some are just excited to be able to spend more time with friends, or outdoors.

They've worked hard all school year, learning and gaining new knowledge and skills that they'll take with them into their next school year.

But as classrooms empty this week, parents may not be feeling that same eagerness.

Unfortunately, summer break often leaves some families struggling to supplement resources the school takes care of throughout the school year, like access to meals, childcare and academic support.

Our local school districts are working to make up for those losses, supporting families with summer programming and free meals.

Niles Community Schools also offers multiple resources over the summer, including summer pop-up libraries and different educational and recreational summer camps. All camps provide breakfast and lunch.

Along with supplementing meals and childcare, the district's Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, Brooke Brawley says the hope is to also bridge the learning loss gap over the summer.

In Indiana, South Bend Transpo is letting K-12 students ride for free this summer with a student ID. You can still ride free if you don't have one, just contact SB Transpo at (574) 232-9901, or visit its Information Booth at South Street Station to receive a pass.

Warsaw Community Schools also recently announced plans to provide free meals for all kids 18 and younger. Adults can also purchase a breakfast or lunch for only $5. The school's Nutrition website has a full list of pickup sites and times.

Michigan City Area Schools is also providing free meals to students 18 and younger.

School City of Mishawaka hosts a free Summer Learning Lab with The Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Joe County. It runs from June 10th-July 12th for grades K-5, during peak parental work hours, 9AM-4:30PM. Breakfast and lunch are provided. It also hosts a number of other camps, listed on its website.

Culver Community School Corp is trying something new this summer - prepacking food in microwave-safe containers for families to pick up and take home this summer. You can reach out to the school district if you need help.

The Indiana Department of Education and the Michigan Department of Education have maps of schools participating in its Summer Food Service Program, complete with contact info for the coordinator for each site. Sites listed here indicate a place where parents can arrange to pick up or enjoy on-site meals for their students.

Elkhart Community Schools is also offering a food service program for children from Monday, June 10, to Friday, August 2. The program is closed July 1 through July 5.

The Middlebury Food Pantry also announced the Middlebury Summer Food Program for Children, running from June 6 to August 9.

This program aims to ensure that children in the community have access to nutritious meals during the summer.

The program will operate every Thursday from noon to 2 p.m., and every Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., offering free lunches to anyone 18 or younger in accordance with federal guidelines.

The Middlebury Food Pantry, in partnership with Cultivate Food Rescue, the Township of Middlebury, Forks County Line Store, and The Bontrager Family Foundation, will provide a limited number of free backpacks containing:

  • Six frozen meals
  • One package of cheese slices
  • One package of lunch meat per child

A voucher for Forks County Line Store to purchase:

  • One gallon of milk
  • One dozen eggs
  • One loaf of bread

Backpacks will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis every Thursday and Friday throughout summer.

Each family is limited to one visit per week.

Middlebury Food Pantry is located 13307 CR 16i n Middlebury, on the east side of the Pleasant Oaks Building.

If you'd like to get your district's summer resources listed here, please send us an email at [email protected], CC [email protected]!

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