Free Lunches Filling Bellies And Helping Kids Make Healthy Food Choices

Posted on Thursday, February 7, 2019 10:23 AM

Whoever said there's no such thing as a free lunch hasn't been to Chester lately.

This month, the cafeteria at Chester Area Middle School is offering homemade and fresh free lunch, breakfast and snacks to their 200 students.

The Well-Fed Student program is the brainchild of Cafeteria Manager Sue LeBlanc.

"Once I had the idea, I applied for some grants, I went to the Awesome Foundation, I hosted a lunch here to inform any interested community members - fed them for free."

In addition to the grants, LeBlanc is donating her salary this month to ensure she and her small army of volunteers can provide the free meals.

She says a half dozen people from the community show up each day to help prepare the food.

Everything being served is made fresh each day from raw vegetables, nothing is dumped out of a bag and reheated.

LeBlanc also wanted to get good food into the bellies of kids who don't have lunches or money.

"During the first month of the job, a couple of times I had leftovers and kids at the end of lunch would come running, hungry. That's hard to see. Once you know there are hungry kids out there you want to find a way to feed them."

LeBlanc says the Well Fed student program is designed not only to provide healthy meals, but to get kids talking about what they eat.

And that can lead to making healthier food choices.

**Photos contributed by Mary Anne Donovan
Reported by: Ed Halverson
Twitter: @edwardhalverson
E-mail: [email protected]