MADISON, Wis. - An off-campus religious lunch program, which sparked student protests three years ago in Middleton, has expanded to two additional school districts.
The 'Jesus Lunch' program is now being offered in Verona and Madison, according to the organization's Facebook page. It is run independently of area schools and provides a free lunch to high school students while sharing a biblical message.
In Madison, organizers are hosting the program on Mondays to students at James Madison Memorial High School at a location near the school.
Organizers will serve students who attend Verona High School on Wednesdays at Harriet Park.
According to Verona Area School District spokesperson Kelly Kloepping, Jesus Lunch organizers have applied to utilize Harriet Park on Sept. 25 and every Wednesday in October. The Parks Board will host their next meeting on Sept. 18 to address this application, Kloepping said.
The Middleton Jesus Lunch program will still be on Tuesdays.
The program was started by a group of five moms in 2016 at Fireman's Park in Middleton, which is adjacent to Middleton High School. Some students and adults in Middleton felt the event should be stopped or moved to a different location.
Organizers and those who attended the lunch said the purpose was to create a safe space for students.
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