CLEBURNE, Texas -- From checkerboard floors to chrome-plated chairs, a school cafeteria in Cleburne has been transformed into a 1950s style diner for summer.
"They don't know the 50s, but it's just a fun bright place," said Kim Chance, child nutrition director for Cleburne ISD.
It was Chance's idea to create the space to give kids a fun place to enjoy summer lunch. It's free for any child up to age 18.
The lunchroom at the child nutrition building is decorated with booths and custom-made murals. There's even a baby blue retro fridge, stocked with chocolate milk.
"I was just standing in this room, and I said, 'Hey! This would be a great place for a diner!'" said Chance.
By law, public school districts have to provide some form of summer lunch if more than half of their students are eligible, but there is no requirement to serve the food with this kind of style. They also have games for kids and even a movie room. The food is paid for by the federal government, but the rest of it is from the heart.
"We could set up styrofoam trays anywhere and just feed kiddos," said Chance. "But a lot of the kids don't have a lot do in the summer times. You know, economic reasons or whatever reason."
Chance said 68 percent of students in her district qualify for free or reduced-price meals, and summer can be a difficult time for parents.
"They go to a restaurant rarely, so I thought, 'Let's give them that environment of actually going into town to the diner.' So this is the diner!" she said.
Cleburne ISD's diner is open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays, and Chance said they typically serve 35 to 50 students a day. She hopes any parent will make use of the program, even if they just need a safe place to let their kids eat lunch, while they're running errands.
"We just want to entertain your kids. We want to nurture your kids through the summer. And we want to feed your kids," Chance said. "It doesn't matter to me what your income is."
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