Summer program feeds the children

Published 11:01 pm Monday, June 25, 2012

Now that school is out, some children within the school system do not have a way to receive free and reduced lunches.

However, the Dallas County Commission is offering a Summer Feeding Program so children can still receive nutritious meals throughout the summer.

“You would be really surprised at how many of the kids and adults that take advantage of that program would not have nutritious food otherwise,” said Dallas County Probate Judge Kim Ballard.

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The program is available to children 18-years-old or younger, and Ballard said it is a very meaningful program in the Dallas County area.

“Dallas County is a comparatively poor county and a lot of the kids involved in the program come from single-parent homes,” Ballard said. “Their mothers work so it serves a dual purpose — it gives them something positive to do during the day and it also gives them nutritious meals.”

The program, overseen by Susan Wood, is funded by the state so it does not cost Dallas County a penny. Only when the program expands does the county subsidize it and money is spent.

Ballard said last year the county chipped in somewhere around $10,000, “and it was money well spent.”

Each year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture partners with the Dallas County Commission to provide these free meals to children.

There are currently 16 sites in the county that are part of the feeding program. Some of the larger sites are Tipton Middle, Keith High School and Pine Glenn, which are currently distributing about 85 meals a day.

The meals are generally a sub sandwich, two fruits and juice. Each of the different sites has a different time for serving meals but the time for most is between 10:45 a.m. and noon.

Andrew Odom, a volunteer with the program, said his life has been impacted positively after seeing the great need for the program in the area and what is has been able to provide for the children.

“Food is life, but people are life too,” Odom said. “We are giving kids a place where they can be mentored and eat and just get pat on back or high five. They have a chance to receive encouraging words and that gives them a purpose as we keep trying to encourage them to accomplish goals and dreams in life.”

For more information about the national Summer Food Service Program and what site is closest to you, visit