Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann to meet kids and kick off USDA Summer Food Program in Iowa City June 7

By Anjali Budhiraja | June 05, 2006, 2:32 p.m. (ET)
U.S. Olympic Silver Medalist Sara McMann (Iowa City, Iowa/Sunkist Kids)will join children at Pheasant Ridge Center to kick off the USDA and Iowa Department of Education's annual Summer Food Service Program.

McMann will eat lunch with children, lead them in a few games and physical activities, and will speak about the importance of "eating smart and playing hard." The FNS mascot, Power Panther, will also be on hand to meet and greet children.

The USDA's Summer Food Service Program was created to ensure that children in lower-income areas could continue to receive nutritious meals during long school vacations, when they do not have access to school lunch or breakfast. Although millions of children depend on nutritious free and reduced-price meals and snacks at school for 9 months out of the year, just a fraction of that receive the free meals provided by the SFSP during the summer months.

SFSP draws children into supervised activities that are safe, fun, and filled with learning opportunities. Children benefit nutritionally by receiving complete, wholesome meals, and parents benefit from some help in stretching their food dollars. The program encourages communities to provide safe places for children to go to be with other children and supportive adults.

Pheasant Ridge has provided free lunch to children in the summer for the past 11 years. The Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County sponsors seven sites. About 60 children attend the Pheasant Ridge site each day.

Sara McMann, 2004 Women's Olympic Wrestling Silver Medalist
Darlene Sanchez, Director of Special Nutrition Programs, USDA Food & Nutrition Service in Denver
Julia Thorius, Chief, Bureau of Nutrition Programs and School Transportation, Iowa Department of Education
Brian Loring, Executive Director, Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County

Pheasant Ridge Center
2651 Roberts Road
Iowa City, IA 52246

Wednesday, June 7, 2006
11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.