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The Canton City Schools began a free hot meal service this week at five locations  throughout the district for students participating in sports, after school programs, clubs, and extracurricular activities.

Superintendent Jeff Graham said the goal is to eventually offer dinner to all children in the district, adding, “We are learning. We know that we are fulfilling an important need that doesn’t stop with our athletes and after school clubs, and we look forward to growing the service.”

Dr. Graham commended Director of Child Nutrition Erin Cole and Business Manager Tad Ellsworth for “their diligence and passion getting the program off the ground.” 

Cole said she is extremely excited about how the program is shaping up in its first week. “We are tweaking things, looking at schedules and winter sports rosters to ensure we are prepared, and looking ahead to make sure the program is efficient and sustainable,” she said.

The new dinner service is being piloted at ECA @ Crenshaw, the STEAMM Academy @ Hartford, C2RA @ Lehman, and both McKinley High School campuses because of their full kitchens and ability to prepare hot meals. 

“We are still investigating how it will work at our elementary buildings,” Cole said. “We are walking before we run.”

Additional details about the program’s expansion will be provided as they develop.