Pictured (L-R) are Kathy Vigil

Pictured (L-R) are Kathy Vigil, Nick Monarco, Betty Avalos and Debie Buckle at Eckhart Elementary in Trinidad showing off one of their meals available for free to kids throughout Las Animas County thanks to extended funding from the state.

Trinidad School District No. 1 is offering free meals for Las Animas County’s youth ages zero to 18 as well as affordable meals for $3.75 for adults in the community at Trinidad High School, Eckhart Elementary, and Fisher’s Peak Elementary. The district is serving breakfast and lunch.

In addition to making sure students of the district are fed, TSD1 Food Service Director Kathy Vigil said she also wanted to be sure her 11 employees are also being taken care of.

“We’re trying to keep everybody working and that’s a chore right now with COVID and everything,” said Vigil. “We used to serve about 900 students and now we’re only serving about 200 students. With that, the reimbursement from the school is not going to be as much as it was last year so we’re trying to get out to the people to reach more kids and families.”

At the beginning of the fall semester in August, cafeteria staff were all at Eckhart Elementary switching out to give everyone hours.

Now with the high school and both elementary schools up and rolling again, Vigil said all staff were now back at their usual cafeterias and able to get more hours. She added that she also hopes it means reaching more students. So far, it seems to be helping.

“We thought it would also mean easier access to more kids across the district if we were at our own buildings,” said Vigil. “We were feeding about 175 to 190 students before we split and now we’re up to around 235, so a little bit of an increase but not a big one.”

Vigil also stressed the point that thanks to help from the state, the district’s meal program is able to provide lunches free to students not just within the district but to any student in Las Animas County.

“They do not have to be enrolled in our district,” said Vigil. “It can be anybody in Las Animas County. We just want to feed the students. There’s a lot of kids out there that need access to meals.”

While free meals are just for students 18 and under, Vigil said she hopes more adults will come enjoy their inexpensive meals also. At $3.75, the price is very affordable and as for the food; it comes teacher approved.

“I recently had one of their sandwiches and it was not what I would consider a ‘cafeteria food’ sandwhich,” said TSD1 band director Alex Duran. “It was a legit sub sandwich with a lot of toppings and flavor. I was happily surprised and will be going back.”

Anyone who finds themselves hungry and in Trinidad Monday through Friday can swing by any of the schools serving lunches between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and find a pick-up area to snag whatever is on the menu for that day. To make things easier for staff, those who are paying for a meal will need to bring cash. Cards and checks aren’t accepted.

Menus can be found on the district’s website tsd1.org and for any other questions, call Kathy Vigil at 719-845-2051.

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