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Food service program aimed at promoting healthy eating

During the summer heat many children worry about being bored, but for some, the worry is more about what they have to eat than what fun they can have that day.

The Dallas County Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture teamed up to solve both of those problems for area children.

The Summer Food Service Program runs Monday through Friday through July 16 at 25 different sites across Dallas County and makes meals and activities available for children from 1 to 18 years old.

“More than 90 percent of the children in this area are eligible for free or reduced lunch,” said Susan Wood, program director for Dallas County. “The whole purpose of this program is to provide these students a nutritional meal that they may not be able to get at home.”

The food is prepared at Tipton-Durant Middle School before being shipped off to the individual sites by volunteer drivers.

“Each child gets a complete lunch at the sites starting around 10:45 a.m. and stopping around 12:15 p.m.,” said Wood. “That includes a sandwich, two fruits, milk and something like chips or Rice Krispies treats.”

Wood said recreational events were available for many of the different sites.

“Some areas provide enrichment and tutoring programs,” said Wood. “And other sites, like the churches, provide a vacation Bible school-type program. “

District 1 County Commissioner Connel Towns Sr., has worked with the summer food program since he joined the commission in 2001 and oversees six of the sites.

“When I started, I saw this was an opportunity to work with the children and after school programs in my community,” said Towns. “I think that it is a great thing that the commission and volunteers try to take the time to keep our children’s minds focused.”

For more information about the program contact Susan Wood at 876-4488 or the Dallas County Commission at 874-2560.