The Union Recorder

May 22, 2013

Baldwin Co. schools keeping students fed for free during the summer

Vaishali Patel
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Baldwin County public school students will be offered free meals during the summer months through the Seamless Summer Option program.

Sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture, the summer food 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.

“The program is an extension of our regular meal program,” said Jeanne Starr, director of school nutrition. “Last year it meant quite a bit to families. Parents have been calling me asking if we’re going to run the program again this year.”

Students 18 years-old and under can eat a free breakfast and lunch in Baldwin High School’s cafeteria Monday through Friday starting June 3 through July 19. Breakfast will be served from 7:30 to 9 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

“Breakfast will usually consist of a meat biscuit, toast, cereal, milk or juice with fresh fruit or canned fruit,” Starr said. “Lunch will be a variety of hot and cold foods, including pizza and sandwiches with fruit and salad, milk or juice.”

Meals will not be served Thursday, July 4 and Friday, July 5.

“It looks like we're going to have more children coming than we did last year,” Starr said. “Last year we did over 30,000 meals for breakfast and lunch; the response was huge. I’m not looking for that to decrease this year; I’m already having parents calling.”

The Parent University bus will deliver and serve lunch at the following sites:

• Graham Homes at 11 a.m.

• Duplex City at 11:25 a.m.

• GNETS of Oconee at 11:45 a.m.

• River Bend Apartments at noon

• The Manor at 12:40 p.m.

• Finnagan’s Mobile Home Park at 1:05 p.m.

• 5th Street Mobile Home Park at 1:30 p.m.

• Lockwood Mobile Home Park at 1:50 p.m.

“We will deliver meals on the mobile route. I’m expecting to take a few hundred meals. We will also deliver meals to the Explorer Academy, Junior Deputy Camp and High Achievers camp,” Starr said. “[Transportation Director] Donald Tuft works with us on the mobile route by furnishing the driver and bus. A lot of school systems don’t have the camaraderie, but he cares about the children so much.”

With 80 percent of students eligible to receive a free or reduced priced meals last school year, Starr anticipates the need to rise. 

“So far this school year through the end of April system-wide, we have served 390,532 for breakfast and 737,772 for lunch. The year before last we had around 79 percent receiving free or reduced lunch. In this economy, I’m looking for that percentage to increase,” she said. “This program is tremendously important for families and low-economic folks who are unemployed. It seems like they count on these meals in the summer time.”

For more information about the program, contact Starr at 478-457-3315.

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