A group of students gather for lunch at Edgewood Elementary School as part of Selma’s Summer Food Service Program. Although these students get lunch during the summer school program they are in, lunch is free to any student in Selma age 18 or younger. -- Alison McFerrin

Food program prepares daily meals

Published 8:33pm Tuesday, June 7, 2011

By Alison McFerrin

The Selma Times-Journal

They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but the 2011 Summer Food Service Program is promising just that.

“The program is designed to serve students who need a lunch during the summer,” Summer Food Service Program Administrator Krystal Dozier said.

People age 18 and younger can get a free lunch every day during the summer. Lunches are available at 22 locations throughout Selma, and Jerry Smith, program director, said it’s just a way to fill the gap.

“There are a lot of kids that, this is the only meal they get a day,” Smith said.

Mayor George Evans said he thinks it’s a great program for kids whose parents work during the day, who might not be able to get a midday meal otherwise.

The program is a partnership between the city of Selma and the Selma city schools, Smith said, and is sponsored by the USDA. Dozier said participating sites contacted the city of Selma, and pre-operational work, like visits from the Health Department, was completed before the summer began.

“It’s an eight-week program, and the lunches are prepared at Payne Elementary School, and they are distributed to the different sites,” Dozier said. “They always get a milk, always get a juice, always get a piece of fruit.”

The cold lunches also include things like sandwiches and chocolate pudding cups. Dozier said that although many of the distribution locations feed children as part of summer programs, students are not required to be in any programs to get a free lunch.

“It is for community children; it’s not for programs only,” Dozier said. “(They can) come whenever they want to. It’s not a sign up thing. It’s open to the public and they can go to any site that’s near them and receive their free lunch.”

And since the program began Monday, people have grabbed the opportunity.

“Right now we’re right at about 1200 a day, and normally it gets up to about 1500,” Smith said, adding that he has seen the program serve up to 1700 lunches per day in the past.

Meals must be consumed on site and are available every day this summer from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the locations listed below:

Tabernacle of Praise

Byrd Elementary School

Chanticleer Apt. Rec. Center

Clark Elementary School

Ebenezer Baptist Church

Edgewood Elementary School

Ellwood Community Church

Felix Heights Center

Knox Elementary School

Macedonia Community Development Center

Payne Elementary School

Phoenix School

Police Athletic League

Rangerdale Center

S. P. Kingston Elementary School

School of Discovery

Selma High School

Selma Middle School

Tabernacle Baptist Church

Trinity Lutheran School

Valley Creek Center

Wallace Community College

Free lunch is available at these locations from 11 a.m. to noon until July 29.

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