The Pickerington Local School District this June will once again offer free lunches to people 18 years old and younger through its Summer Food Program.

The Pickerington Local School District this June will once again offer free lunches to people 18 years old and younger through its Summer Food Program.

For the third straight year, the district will look to supplement nutrition for those who need food assistance through a one-month, free program to be held at Tussing Elementary School, 7117 Tussing Road.

The Summer Food Program will be available Mondays through Fridays throughout the month of June, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., to anyone 18 and younger.

"The Summer Food Program serves children and teens 18 years old and younger," said Judy Riley, the school district's food service supervisor. "There is no paperwork needed.

"Anyone that shows up will receive a lunch free."

The district continues to offer the Summer Food Program through federally-funded, state-administered program.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture grant reimburses districts such as Pickerington that serve free meals to children and teens during summer months when schools are not in session.

"The meals are sponsored by the USDA at no charge for all children between ages 0 and 18," said David Ball, Pickerington's public relations director. "All meals must be eaten on site.

"Meals will be provided to all children without charge and are the same regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. There is no discrimination in the course of the meal service."

Riley said the district continues to offer the program because the district still has students who qualify for free or reduced-cost lunches during the school year.

She said the program helps ensure those students and others in Pickerington and nearby communities receive nourishment for the first month of summer break.

"Our district is currently at 27 percent free and reduced, and this program is here to provide assistance and help through the summer months," Riley said. "Last year we served on an average of 125 students per day."

A full menu for the program is available at pickerington.k12.oh.us.

In addition to the meals, Riley said the program offers reading, exercise and nutrition activities, as well as other children's games and opportunities to win tickets to the Columbus Zoo.

"We will have Library Days on Fridays and the Ohio State Extension Office/Fairfield County on Tuesdays," Riley said. "They will have games and nutritional educational materials will be distributed.

"On Mondays during the month of June we will have Donatos Day (and) Monday June 13 is Donatos Zoo Day. Prizes and pizza will be given out on this day.

"Come for the fun and excitement," Riley said. "On Thursdays, area vendors that the (school district's) food service (department) partners with will have food tables of samples, nutritional material, etc."