The Union Recorder

July 9, 2013

Summer food program serves youth 23,000 meals in June

Vaishali Patel
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — More than 1,300 meals are prepared and served each day free of charge to students in Baldwin County since the summer food program began last month.

Sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture, the Seamless Summer Option program continues providing meals as offered during the regular school year, meeting nutrition guidelines. The federally-funded program is offered to communities in which majority of students qualify for free and reduced school lunches.

“For the month of June, we served 15,349 lunches and 7,340 for breakfast,” said Sandra Rozier, school nutrition program manager for Midway Elementary School and head of the summer food program. “I think this program is very beneficial to families. The kids really enjoy it and it can be extra meals which helps parents so they don’t have to be upset that their child isn’t getting fed.”

Beginning her day at 6:30 a.m., Rozier opens up the kitchen in Baldwin High School’s cafeteria before other fellow Baldwin County school system staff come in to get breakfast prepared and served at the high school. Students 18 years-old and under eat a free breakfast from 7:30 to 9 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“I have about six to eight employees helping with the program everyday. At 7:30 a.m. we start preparing bag lunches for delivery to the mobile sites,” Rozier said. “We feed about 350 students at the high school daily.”

In the programs second year for delivering meals on a mobile route, the Parent University bus delivers and serves lunch at Graham Homes, Duplex City, GNETS of Oconee, River Bend Apartments, The Manor, Finnagan’s Mobile Home Park, 5th Street Mobile Home Park and Lockwood Mobile Home Park. The mobile route also delivered meals to the Junior Deputy Camp and Explorer Academy and continues to serve High Achievers camp and the Boys & Girls Club of Baldwin County.

“Several kids come and say thank you and parents really appreciate us for doing this program for the summer time,” Rozier said. “We thought the mobile route would be good for the kids since there are so many kids who can’t get to the high school because their parents are working. The mobile route goes throughout the community and kids really take advantage of it.”

With no income requirements or registration, individuals must be the age of 18 or younger to qualify for the free meals. Eighty percent of students were eligible to receive a free or reduced priced meal last school year. More than 30,000 meals were served during the summer food program last year.

“When I go out on the mobile sites and I see how many kids there are in Milledgeville who need this program, it’s just amazing,” Rozier said. “It brings me joy to be able to let kids enjoy a meal.”

The program is running through Friday, July 19.

For more information about the summer food program, contact Jeanne Starr at 478-457-3315, or visit www.fns.usda.gov.

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