MOUNTAIN VIEW, Mo. — As kids are back in school throughout the Ozarks this week, there is one school district that has found a way to give back to its community.
They’re helping to keep all children from going hungry while they learn.
If you get out on the road and venture east of the Ozarks, tucked away in a pocket of South Central Missouri sits what residents consider their own haven.
“Well, we’re living in a little pocket of paradise here. This is the Jack’s Fork River,” Mountain View-Birch Tree School District Superintendent Dave Christiansen said.
They can admire the beauty.
“This is why we choose to live here. Unfortunately, there’s just not a whole lot of economic development in this area, to match the beauty,” Christiansen said.
But Christiansen still wants to help the community. So he, and the rest of the staff at the Mountain View – Birch Tree School District are doing something about it.
“This is the first time we’ve done it,” Christiansen said. “It’s called the Community Eligibility Provision Grant.”
It’s a food service grant that will provide free meals to 700 students in Birch Tree and Mountain View Elementary Schools. Birch Tree Counselor Paula Crenshaw is excited about the immediate effect it will have on her students.
“There are educational benefits for that. We want every child to succeed,” Crenshaw said.
This is the second half of a two-year grant, and it applies to both schools for both semesters, but the district already has plans to apply for another two-year grant, and that would start up next August.
Students will get a completely free breakfast and lunch provided to them each day.
“We believe it’ll have a positive impact on our community,” Crenshaw said. “We live in a world where 16 million students live in homes that struggle to put food on the table.”
“We’re just doing what we can to help parents and kids and help stave off hunger,” Christiansen said.
“Our district has always been invested in our community, so this is a way to give back,” Crenshaw said.
It’s a simple solution for the district’s students, but one that aims to help the learning of these young minds as they enjoy life in their own paradise.
The grant is provided through OPAA which is a food management company that specializes in providing meals for students nationwide.
Kids at Mountain View and Birch Tree also have options of going for a hot meal, cold meal or even a to-go bag.