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Bus offers free daily lunches during summer

Hernando Today

Published:   |   Updated: June 21, 2013 at 12:00 AM

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SPRING HILL - While there might not be such a thing as a free lunch, there is such thing as a Hernando County school bus that delivers lunch free-of-charge.

And if that still makes sense then the old aphorism probably still applies, but if you have children or grandchildren between the ages of 2 and 18 they can have lunch Monday through Friday this summer for free from 11 to 11:45 a.m. at Delta Woods Park in Spring Hill, or 12:30 to 1:15 p.m. at the Elks Lodge in Brooksville.

The summer Food and Nutrition program ends Aug. 9, and is provided by Hernando County Schools Food and Nutrition Services, which serves 40,500 lunches during the summer. During the regular school year, the program serves 2,500,000 lunches, 1,000,000 breakfasts, and 150,000 snacks to students in after-school programs.

"We just found out about it (Tuesday)," grandmother of two Robin Curatolo said Wednesday aboard the "Cruisin' Café" at Delta Woods Park.

"We were at the park and they wanted to come back today."

By then there was chicken sandwiches and applesauce, juice, milk and the option of cookies or baked chips.

A comparable five-piece meals is served every day, like corn dogs today and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on Friday.

"It's good," said Mackenzie Curatolo, 8, of Spring Hill Elementary School. "I like it."

Which is fortunate because the meals taste like their regular cafeteria food, they said, and are well-balanced and nutritious meals freshly cooked and prepared at Explorer K8, according to Marlan Sapp, assistant manager of Hernando County Food and Nutrition Services at Spring Hill Elementary.

"Then we pack the bus," Sapp said, and if the number of lunches served on the bus is any indication, the mobile diner has become increasingly popularity since the program started on June 10.

"When we first started we were serving 50 lunches. Tuesday we served 81, so quite a few."

Patrons can receive one meal every day, Sapp said.

"I think it's a pretty neat idea," she said. "Everybody seems appreciative."

Delta Woods Park is located at 3400 Deltona Blvd.

The Elks Lodge is located at 510 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

For more information on free summer food sites in Hernando County, call (352) 797-7028.

According to Hernando County Schools, the department is financially self-sufficient, with revenues exceeding $10,000,000 per year, none of which are local tax dollars, but rather are provided through state and federal reimbursements, as well as student and adult customers.

(352) 544-5271

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