River Valley Resources, in coordination with the Indiana Department of Corrections of Madison and Aramark food services, will begin Summer Meals for Kids food service in June for children 18 years and under in Jefferson County.

The program, now in its eighth season, operates to feed children during the months of June and July while school is not in session. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program will operate differently this year but will still have the same mission — to provide nutritious meals to children who are food insecure during the summer break when school meals are not available.

Summer Meals for Kids will begin on Monday, June 1 and end on Friday, July 31, with days of operation on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. On Mondays and Wednesdays two meals will be distributed and on Fridays one meal will be provided.

This year’s program will be served using a “Grab and Go” method where children or their parents/guardians pick up meals to take home for consumption. In years past, children were required to congregate and share the meal with the supervision of volunteers and site supervisors, but due to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, participants will not be gathering for lunch, games and fellowship. They will be permitted to take the food home.

Program Director Lucy Dattilo said while this is a different format from previous years it allows the program to continue in a safe manner until things return to a “new normal” while continuing to provide food to children in need.

“When much of the world came to a screeching halt, one thing did not change. Children still were hungry and needed to be fed,” Dattilo said. “Many families in Jefferson County continue to struggle and need help making ends meet. Our program fills a gap created when kids do not attend school by providing nutritious meals that give kids energy to enjoy their summer days.”

Summer Meals for Kids will carrying on the food mission that has been going on since March in Jefferson County as local schools and Lide White Boys and Girls Club have all been distributing food through the Indiana Department of Education meal programs. The programs have either provided pick up service or delivery by traveling into neighborhoods to meet families at a designated site.

Dattilo and Tina Jones, the SMK volunteer coordinator, have been working hard to put people in place to serve the huge need caused by the current, ongoing pandemic. Four site supervisors and 200 volunteer time slots will be filled by area churches and local industry.

There will be 14 sites where children can pick up meals this summer on the days listed, including:

— Audubon Park, 10:30-10:45 a.m.

— Lydia Middleton Elementary, 10:30-11:30 a.m.

— Deputy Elementary, 11 a.m-noon

— Lide White Boys & Girls Club, 11 a.m.-11:40 a.m.

— Rykers’ Ridge Elementary, 11 a.m.-noon

— Presidential Estates, 11:05-11:15 a.m.

— Windridge Apartments, 11:25-11:40 a.m.

— Madison Junior High School, noon-1 p.m.

— Southwestern Elementary, noon-1 p.m.

— Woodside Drive (Madison Estates), noon-1 p.m.

— Anderson Elementary, noon-1 p.m.

No identification is required but participants should go to only one site per day. The program is United States Department of Agriculture funded in cooperation with the Indiana Department of Education nutrition program and follows all Civil Rights guidelines.

For more information, call 812-599-0170.