Schools, Community Team Up to Feed Students During Summer

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Even though schools are closed for the summer break, there are significant partnerships at work to support students over the coming months.

We sponsor some great academic programs during summer, but one of the barriers to attending these programs is access to food. Fortunately for our students, the district and multiple community agencies have teamed up to provide lunch and snacks for our summer programs.

The largest academic program offered during summer is our Jump Start program for students transitioning from third to fourth grade. The program supports reading and writing development so students will enter fourth grade at or near standard. The Thurston County Food Bank stepped in to provide lunch for these growing readers.

Yelm High School is also hosting a transition program this summer called Tornado Academy to assist students in making a successful transition to ninth grade. Multiple community partners have graciously donated snacks to support students as they work on academic and social development.

Homelessness is a significant problem in Thurston County. During the school year, the Homeless Backpacks program pulls together significant donations of food that students pick up each Friday at our schools. These backpacks provide food for homeless students and their families over the weekend.

Through the generosity of the Yelm Rotary Club, Yelm Lions Club, Stiebrs Farms, Olympia Federal Savings, TwinStar Credit Union, Yelm Cinemas, Prairie Park, Yelm Food Bank, Nisqually Pines and Safeway, homeless students are able to continue to receive backpacks while school is out for the summer.

Lastly, the Yelm High School FFA program is again growing vegetables for local donation. The Plant an Extra Row program typically donates two tons of fresh food each summer.  

Even though classes are not in session through July and August, there are significant academic and support programs in place for students and their families. It takes a community to support students and we are proud of the partnerships created to keep these programs thriving.  

Have a great summer!

Brian Wharton is the superintendent of Yelm Community Schools.

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