Summer lunch program begins for county's needy schoolchildren
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 18, 2014 1:46 PM
Two summer lunch programs began this week, offering free meals to youths through mid-August.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides funds to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health to administer the N.C. Simplified Summer Food Service Program.
Sponsors are reimbursed for the cost of the meals served to eligible children and meals are prepared on site or vendors are contracted to purchase prepared meals.
The two local agencies chosen to participate in the program this year are Rebuilding Broken Places and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wayne County, which has three locations.
"This is our third year going it," said John Barnes, executive director at Rebuilding Broken Places. "When we submitted the application, we said we would serve 35 kids."
Now, he said, he hopes to get the word out and that people will take advantage of the service.
"It's been good. But what happens is most time people wait until the last couple of weeks and then they start coming," he said. "We'll do some more outreach, trying to get the word out."
The eight-week summer program started Monday and will run through Aug. 15, he said.
It is open to any youth 18 years old and under, with meals served weekdays from 11:45 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. at Greenleaf Christian Church on William Street.
"You don't have to call us or anything like that," Barnes said. "Just show up between that time period and we'll serve you lunch."
Last year, he said they had an average turnout of 40 young people.
"I think there's more kids out there," he said, suggesting that transportation could be an issue for some.
"Being able to get there is a problem, so we're going to look at maybe next year expanding the sites."
The goal is to provide a nutritional meal for kids during the summer months when school is not in session, he said.
"We have a meat, vegetable, fruit, milk and grain," he said. "We try to have something that we know these kids will eat."
It can be tricky not knowing how many to prepare for, Barnes said, but nothing goes to waste.
"What we have done in the past, anything left over that can't be saved, we take it to the Soup Kitchen or some other place," he said. "We wouldn't throw it away."
The Boys & Girls Club of Wayne County is also participating over the same period, from now until Aug. 15, with free meals provided at each of the three clubs for children ages 6-18.
The schedule for each of the sites is as follows:
* Goldsboro Unit, 1401 Royall Avenue, Monday-Friday from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.
* Northern Wayne Unit, 405 Sycamore Street, Fremont, Monday-Friday, noon until 1 p.m.
* Mount Olive Unit, 600 S. Breazeale Avenue, Monday through Friday, 1-2 p.m.
All clubs will be closed on Friday, July 4.