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Summer feeding program back

The food service department of the Picayune Municipal Separate School District will hold their summer feeding program from June 2 through July 11.

Debbie Schmidt, director of food services for the school district, said that the federally funded food program is in its seventh year at Picayune, and is free to any child between birth and age 18, regardless of where the child is from.

“We’re open to children and teenagers from all areas. Busing will be provided for Picayune School District students, but not for students out of district,” said Schmidt.

Meals will be provided to adults that come with the children at a rate of $2.50 for breakfast and $3.00 for lunch.

Meals will be served weekdays at Nicholson Elementary and Southside Upper Elementary Schools. Breakfast will be from 8 a.m. until 9 a.m., and lunch will be from 11:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. The program will not serve students on July 4, in observance of the Independence Day holiday.

“The meals served will be nutritious, yet kid-friendly,” said Schmidt. She says that guidelines aren’t as strict for the summer as they are during the school year. Fruits and vegetables will be served, but will be more along the lines of foods that children will enjoy.

A sample breakfast menu will include items such as cereal, a biscuit, grits or pancakes, in addition to a choice of juice or milk. A sample lunch entree will consist of items such as chicken nuggets, hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza or grilled cheese sandwiches, along with a vegetable, dessert and milk.

“Kids in the schools have already been sent letters home to their parents,” said Schmidt. With those letters were forms for the parents to sign ad return. Once the forms have been returned, said Schmidt, the children will be assigned to buses and the buses will pick up the children.

“We are still working on the bus schedule, and we’ll notify the parents once we have completed it,” Schmidt said.

The feeding program, which in the past has been held in conjunction with the school district’s summer camp program, will be operating on its own this year, due to the school not hosting a summer camp program.

Picayune School District Assistant Superintendent Brent Harrell said the summer camp program has been eliminated this year due to lack of funding.

“The funding for our summer camp program in the past came from Title I and Title IV grants, homeless grants and the Safe Harbor grant. We qualified for those grants again this year, but obligated the funds for other things, primarily the extension of the school day in order to help students prepare for state testing,” Harrell said.

Schmidt said that since the summer camp is not being held this year, buses will run a breakfast route and a lunch route daily.

“We’ll pick (Picayune district) students up for breakfast, and after they eat, we’ll bring them home. Then, we’ll pick them up for lunch, and bring them home afterwards,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt said last year, the program served between 500 and 600 students.

For more information regarding the summer feeding program, contact Debbie Schmidt of food services at (601) 798-6711.