Through many summer food site visits, one of the most difficult aspects of the program became apparent through several instances. In particular, I remember last week serving milk when a mother asked how much the meal cost for adults. At this specific site, the cost is only $1, as the remainder of the cost has been covered by the organization. With the cost in mind, the mother of four went and sat down without a meal while her children ate. I saw her digging in her purse, trying to find the necessary dollar. She couldn’t find enough change in her purse, so she went without. Before the family left, the mother picked-up the nearly-full lunch plate her two-year-old had eaten off of and threw the food away. The rules do not allow adults to eat off the children’s plates. I wonder how far this woman walked and carried the toddler so that she could watch and not participate in the meal.
The issue of feeding adults has been discussed at many sites. Some sites go beyond providing children’s meals and overlay the cost of adult meals or find a donor to do so. Other sites offset the price to make it more affordable for the adults supervising the children, including parents, grandparents, relatives, friends and childcare workers. Both options carry a small financial burden for the meal site.