Summer feeding program expanded

Published 7:05 pm Saturday, May 24, 2014

An increased need has prompted organizers of the annual Dallas County Summer Feeding Program to add another location to serve area children.

“The need is very, very large. And for a lot of our kids, this could be the only meal they get each day,” program director Susan Wood said. “That’s why we just added another site, because the people at Water Avenue Baptist Church called us and said they were worried about kids getting food over the summer.

The program will serve meals daily at 12 locations throughout the county from June 5 to July 25. Volunteers will meet every morning at Tipton Middle School to assemble the meals.

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Along with Water Avenue Baptist Church, the program will serve meals at the Selma-Dallas County YMCA, New Selmont Baptist Church, Selma Christian Ministries at Craig Field, Tipton Middle School, Southside High School, Shiloh Elementary, Keith High School, Rising Star Primitive Baptist Church, Five Point Elementary School, Safford Community Center and New Vernon CP in Orrville.

Each lunch will include a sandwich, milk, snack and either two fruits or two vegetables. Wood said the meal times vary between locations, but most would be served between 10:45 a.m. and noon.

The program is funded by the Dallas County Commission and the United States Department of Agriculture. Dallas County administrator Barbara Harrell said the commission budgeted $75,397, which will include roughly $40,000 in reimbursements from the state this year for the annual food service, which commissioners believe to be vital to the health of area children.

“When the commission sits down to do their budget every year, they make sure it is in the budget,” Harrell said. “Because it is needed by so many kids in Selma and Dallas County.”

Wood said the program provides children access to more than just a meal.

“We also provide recreational space at these locations, and some of the places will even provide Bible studies, sewing classes and guest speaker,” Wood said. “It’s basically to provide a meal and a safe place for the kids to go.”