Summer feeding programs are now underway at several county and city schools. File photo.
Summer feeding programs are now underway at several county and city schools. File photo.

Archived Story

Summer feeding programs underway

Published 4:18pm Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Getting a quality education is the main focus at most any school, but there are other components to the school day that help each child grow and succeed, one of which is the child nutrition program.

While students are being fed mentally by their teachers each day, it is the job of the child nutrition program (CNP) workers to make sure each child is fed a nutritious breakfast and lunch, one that will help them get though the day and help them maintain a healthy lifestyle overall.

Elaine Vaughn, the CNP director for Russellville City Schools, said school meals are vitally important because that is sometimes the only balanced meal some of the students have access to during the day.

According to research conducted through the national non-profit organization WhyHunger, in 2011, over 49 million Americans lived in food insecure households, which means a household that has limited or uncertain access to nutritious, safe foods that are necessary to lead a healthy lifestyle. Of that number, 16.7 million were children.

In Alabama, the number of food insecure households is above the U.S. average, which means the number of children locally who go without a nutritious meal on a daily basis is, n average, higher than normal.

“With the economy the way it has been for several years now, we have students who simply don’t get the recommended amounts of healthy, nutritious food that they should at home,” Vaughn said.

“Knowing this, we take our jobs very seriously when it comes to making sure each student is well-fed and receives a balanced meal each day when they are at school.”

But what happens when school lets out for the summer and students no longer have access to school breakfasts and lunches?

In the Russellville City and Franklin County school systems, the Seamless Summer Feeding Program is being utilized, which provides breakfast and lunch on Monday – Friday.

These meals are provided completely free of charge to any child who is 18 years old or younger, regardless of what school district he or she goes to.

In Franklin County, the meals are served at the East Franklin Junior High School, Phil Campbell High School, Tharptown High School and Red Bay High School cafeterias from May 27 – July 25. Breakfast is served from 7:30 a.m. – 10 a.m. and lunch is served from 10:15 a.m. until 12 p.m.

In Russellville, meals are served out of the West Elementary School cafeteria through July 25. Breakfast is served from 7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. and lunch is served from 10:45 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

CNP director Elaine Vaughn said they feed students who are participating in the summer T.R.A.C.K.S. program, football practices, volleyball practices, basketball practices and camps, band practices and camps, and any walk-ins who just come in for the free meal.

The Russellville City School System also serves as the food vendor for the city of Russellville’s summer feeding program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), that is overseen by the Russellville Parks and Recreation Department.

The program is part of the National School Lunch Program’s Summer Food Service Program, which is administered locally by the Alabama Department of Education’s Child Nutrition Program.

In Russellville, five sites have been set up to provide free breakfast and lunch on Monday – Friday from June 2 – July 25 for any child who is 18 years old or under. Those sites include the Ralph C. Bishop Community Center, the Chucky Mullins Community Center, Eastside Apartments, Westside Apartments, and the Russell DeVilla Apartments.

Free breakfast is served from 8-9 a.m. and free lunch is served from 11 a.m until 12 p.m.

“A lot of kids go hungry during the summer,” Russellville Park and Rec superintendent Chad Sears said. “We want to try and prevent that.

“We recently were able to add the breakfast in the program and we have been able to expand our coverage in the area.

“Over the years we have been able to add different apartment complexes on different sides of town.”

Sears said the feeding program also attract many kids to the two different community centers where they can participate in activities and stay active during the summer.

“Instead of just sitting at home in front of the TV, these kids can come out and get a free breakfast and lunch and then they can play games and hang out with other kids.”

Sears said they have counselors available at the rec centers who can help with educational programs and tutoring.

“It’s a win-win situation, so I just encourage all kids who are 18 or younger to come out and participate in one of these feeding programs this summer.”

 

Feeding Program locations:

 

Franklin County Schools:

• Belgreen High School

14220 Highway 187

Russellville, AL 35653

• Phil Campbell High School

65 School Street

Phil Campbell, AL 35581

• Red Bay High School

800 8th Street

Red Bay, AL 35582

•Tharptown High School

255 Highway 80

Russellville, AL 35654

 

Russellville City Schools:

• West Elementary School

1340 Clay Avenue

Russellville, AL 35653

 

City of Russellville:

• Chucky Mullins Center

403 Hamilton Street

Russellville, AL 35653

• Eastside Apartment Complex

100 Eastside Plaza

Russellville, AL 35653

• Westside Apartment Complex

100 Westside Plaza

Russellville, AL 35653

• Ralph C. Bishop Community Center

201 Ash Avenue

Russellville, AL 35653

• Russell Devilla Apartments

100 Russell De Villa Plaza

Russellville, AL 35654

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