| PostIndependent.com

For many students throughout Western Garfield County, while summer break brings months of exciting activities and adventures, it also comes with its own unique and uncomfortable challenges. For the 2,532 students on free or reduced lunch in the Garfield Re-2 School District getting fed lunch everyday may not be a guarantee.

Fortunately, Garfield Re-2 runs its ___ program to ensure that all its students stay fed throughout the summer.

However, in 2012 Re-2 switched a four-day school week and as such, students on free or reduced lunch needed lunch on Fridays, not just during the summer, but throughout the school year, that’s where Rifle Hifh School senior Miguel Gonzalez comes in.

He manages the Rifle Friday Mobile Lunch program, known as Meal Monkey, which with the help of New Castle River Center Director Heather Paulsone expanded to Silt and New Castle this summer.

The program travels to local parks and community areas to deliver lunches every morning depending on the location.

Last Friday Gonzalez went to

“We coordinate with the district, LIFT-UP provides the food and kids and parents come and grab them on Friday at around 10 to 12,” Gonzalez explained. “I do it because I like knowing that I’m helping my community and those around me.”

LIFT-UP provides the food for the program, which delivers around 120 lunches a day.

“We started in November, 2015 and choose the locations based on the Preschool on Wheels program,” said Kim Loving, Executive Director of Rifle LIFT-UP. “We hear from parents all the time about how helpful it is.”

Carissa Berret, office manager at Rifle LIFT-UP, said that she tries to provide a nutrious lunch every week with one fruit, vegetable, protein, dairy and more.

“We like to have some variety and change it up each week,” she added.

The program will continue throghout the summer and from January to May delivered 1,583 meals to students and any child under 18 that came by.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.