Fargo, Bismarck Summer Children’s Meals Programs Honored

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Dale Wetzel, Public Information Specialist
Office 701-328-2247
Cell: 701-400-8557
Email: dewetzel@nd.gov

Fargo, Bismarck Summer Children’s Meals Programs Honored
BISMARCK, N.D., Feb. 13, 2017 – State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler announced Monday that the Bismarck school district and the YMCA of Cass and Clay Counties have been honored for almost doubling the participation in last summer’s meals program for children.

The YMCA of Cass and Clay Counties served 35,300 meals at 10 sites during the summer of 2016, an increase of 92 percent from the previous year, said Kaye Knudson, a child nutrition administrator for the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction. In 2015, the YMCA served 18,427 meals at six sites in the Fargo area.

The Bismarck Public Schools summer program had a similar increase. In 2016, the district served 11,961 meals at eight sites, compared to 6,317 meals at four locations in 2015. In addition, the district moved the serving locations from inside schools to local parks and outdoor green spaces near the schools, which made it more convenient for children to come and eat, Knudson said.

The program, which uses the slogan “Hunger Doesn’t Take a Summer Vacation,” provides free meals to children younger than 18 when school is not in session during the summer months. The U.S. Agriculture Department, which provides money for the program, singled out the Bismarck school district and the YMCA of Cass/Clay for awards because of the increase in the number of children they served.

Superintendent Baesler presented a plaque last week to Tamara Uselman, superintendent of the Bismarck school district, and Michelle Wagner, the district’s child nutrition director and the coordinator of its summer meals program, during a ceremony in Baesler’s state Capitol office.

Earlier, Knudson presented a plaque to Lorrie Thoemke, vice president for school age and early learning services for the YMCA of Cass and Clay Counties, to honor the organization’s achievement.