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Summer feeding program begins May 28, will add free books
In its second year, the summer food from Ballard County School will be feeding minds as well as tummies this year. Meal services will begin May 28 at the following sites:

Ballard County Elementary School, 3383 Paducah Road, Barlow; 7:30-8:30 a.m., and 11 a.m.–noon. 8/2

Blandville Baptist Church , 5576 Bethlehem Church Road, Wickliffe’ 10:10-10:30 a.m.

Liberty Manor Apartments, 526 Phillips Drive, Wickliffe, 11-11:15 a.m.

Colony House Apartments, 110 Colony House Drive, Barlow, 11:30-11:45 a.m.

LaCenter Park, on Walnut Street, LaCenter, 12-12:15 p.m.

Here are some additional suggestions for keeping students engaged in learning over the summer.

  1. First, allow children to guide their learning. Figure out what your child is interested in, and come up with trips or projects based on their topics.
  2. Make sure students read (or are read to) for at least 20 minutes a day. Have them write about what they read, then read it to you. Ask them questions about they’re reading.
  3. Play board games with them to increase math skills.
  4. Teach your children to serve others by helping or having them work on a service-learning project.
  5. Visit state and national parks – there are several near here: Wickliffe Mounds, Columbus-Belmont, Shawnee National Forest (southern Illinois), and tons of outdoor and nature-related activities in Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.
  6. Visit a public library. The Barlow City Library is open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; the Ballard-Carlisle County Public Library in Wickliffe (270-335-5059) is open Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Both can be found on Facebook. The McCracken County Public Library is open Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sunday 1-6 p.m. All offer free programs, DVD checkouts, and computer access, in addition to books.
  7. Just spend time talking with your children about the world around us.

Service will continue Monday-Friday through Aug. 2. All meals are prepared at BCES, and are free to all students 18 and under. The Summer Food Service Program is offered under the Kentucky Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Last year’s program served 6,994 meals, according to Ballard Student Nutrition Director Amber Hayes. “We were so happy to be able to help our students and their families during the summer,” she said. She also credited help from the local Masonic Lodge, Oscar Baptist Church, and Family Focus in making that first program a success. Food Service employees Rita Crabtree and Glenda Deweese worked on the distribution van every day last summer, and people in the community, like John Estes in Barlow, helped gather the students when the van arrived.

Donors so far include Bethel Christian Church, and the Masons and Family Focus again will provide ice cream and other sweets.

As plans for this year began to take shape, administrators realized that they could fill more than one need with the program. Students often lose important academic progress over the summer if they’re not using new-found reading and math skills. They decided they would give away books, as well as meals.

“The books are being purchased with community donations, and being collected in book drives,” said Assistant Superintendent David Meinschein. Donors so far include First Community Bank of the Heartland, Ballard County Farm Bureau, River Valley Ag Credit, and Citizens Deposit Bank. “We are still looking for additional money and books,” he continued.

The books will be suitable for students of all ages, and there will be some available for adults, as well, Meinschein said. As the van makes its regular stops to provide lunches in June and July, students and parents can pick up a book at the feeding sites listed above.