Summer food program feeds thousands of kids

Published 10:16 pm Thursday, June 23, 2016

By Samantha Bolden | The Selma Times-Journal

During the first two weeks of June, more than 5,000 meals were prepared for local students through the 2016 Summer Food Service Program.

Children 18 years and younger can get a free lunch everyday during the summer free of charge. Lunches are currently available at 12 sites across Dallas County until July 15.

Meals will be provided at a first come, first serve basis.

Sponsored by the Dallas County Commission, the eight-week program hopes to raise awareness about the lack of nutrition many children face once they get out of school for the summer.

The SFSP operates during school vacations from May through September. It may also provide meals during vacation breaks in schools that are operated year-round or during emergency school closures from October through April.

“We want to make sure that children are getting fed a nutritional meal every day,” said director of Summer Feeding Susan Wood.

Michele Stokes, an assistant to Wood, noted that between June 3-17, there was a total of 5,165 lunches that were prepared for children.

Stokes noted that approximately 20-70 children eat at each participating site with Shiloh Elementary being their largest site with at least 70 children per day. Selmont Baptist Church draws about 60 children.

Stokes said that the number of children depends on each site.

The cold lunches is served, including sandwiches, milk, fruit or vegetable and juice. Wood said students are not required to be a part of any program to receive a complimentary lunch, but all food must be consumed on-site due to food safety reasons.

Wood said students are allowed to receive a second meal if there are extras available.

“The site supervisors turn a lunch count in every day, and they estimate how many first meals they’ll need,” Wood said. “Once that is done, if there are any leftovers, we certainly do offer second meals.”

Stokes said many students enjoy the food program.

“It gives them something to do, and they look forward to learning something new,” Stokes said.

Meals are available Monday-Friday unless otherwise noted below.

* New Selmont Baptist Church from 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

*New Vernon CP at 11 a.m. from 11:45 a.m.

*Safford Community Center from 10:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

*Keith High School from 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

*Rising Star Primitive from 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

*West Dallas Advocacy Center from 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

*Selmont Baptist Community Church from 11 a.m. to 12 noon

*Shiloh Elementary from 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

*Southside High School open Monday-Thursday from 11:15 to 12 noon

*YMCA of Selma-Dallas County from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

*Southside Primary open Monday-Thursday from 11:20 a.m. to 12 noon

*Water Avenue Baptist from 11:15 to 12 noon.