Free summer lunch program kicks off in Lockwood, Huntley

2014-06-09T16:45:00Z 2014-06-10T07:05:04Z Free summer lunch program kicks off in Lockwood, HuntleyBy CHRIS CIOFFI ccioffi@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

Half a turkey and cheese sandwich, chicken nuggets, fruit, salad and milk were on the menu in the Pine Court Trailer Park in Lockwood on Monday, the first day of the Lockwood School Summer Food Service Program.

Polishing off his nuggets, Nate Haydal, 10, said he walked from the other end of the park to get lunch.

He could have made lunch at home — “probably like a sandwich, or something in a can, like SpaghettiOs,” he said. But he didn’t feel like it Monday, and the food he had at the site was comparable to what he would have whipped up himself.

“It’s as good,” he said giving two thumbs up and grinning. “I’ll probably come back.”

There are 10 Summer Food Service Program sites

in Billings.

Lockwood Schools operates two. Huntley Project oversees four — one each in Ballantine, Huntley, Worden and new this summer at Pompeys Pillar.

The sites operate every weekday, except on July 4.

The cafeterias at Huntley Project and Lockwood School also serve breakfast.

In the 42 days the program runs, more than 30,000 meals will be served. The Billings locations begin on June 18.

The Pine Court stop is new this year, and Lockwood School kitchen manager Kandi Phillips was chatting up Samantha Black, who was sitting on one of the blankets Phillips brought as

her two children ate lunch.

Phillips asked Black to let others know that they’ll be offering lunch all summer.

“I’ll definitely spread the word,” Black said.

“Good, because that’s what we’re here for — to feed the kiddos,” Phillips said.

As many as 70 students enrolled at Lockwood schools live in the park, and their goal is

to feed as many as they can.

“We want everybody and anybody to come and eat,” she said. “Parents can even come buy a lunch and eat with the kids.”

People who are older than 18 and do not qualify for free lunches can purchase a lunch for $3.75.

Driving a 10-seater school bus, Erin Reilly stopped at the three sites in towns where students who attend Huntley Project live.

Her first stop was Pompeys Pillar’s Main Street, just down the street from the post office.

A half hour later, she was headed to the Ballantine United Church of Christ Lawn and then she was off to Huntley Park. By the end of the day she had served 52 kids.

“It was pretty decent,” she said, “considering there was a basketball camp going on at the school.”

This is the first time Pompeys Pillar has been included in the route, and its first day drew seven kids.

She said she expects more next week when basketball campers are back at home.

Four of the children who made it to the Pompeys Pillar stop were brought there by Angela Lile, who heard about the program from a flier that was sent home on the last day of school.

“What a great service,” said Lile, who is a working mother and sometimes can’t get home during the lunch hour.

On days when she is at work, their grandfather takes care of them, but as a farmer he can’t always get away long enough to make them lunch.

Luckily, the kids can hop on their bikes and head to the site in Ballantine near his farm.

“It’s huge for my dad who may not be able to get lunch for them because he’s working,” she said, “and huge for me because I know they’ll be able to get lunch when I’m working.”

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