Picayune offers summer feeding program

Published 2:59 pm Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Children from birth to age 18 can participate in Picayune Municipal Separate School District’s summer feeding program.

Any child in that age group, no matter which school district he or she attends, can eat for free Monday through Friday between June 1 and July 10. Picayune School District Food Service Director Debbie Schmidt said the only day the program will not be available during that time period will be July 3, which will be taken for the Fourth of July holiday since the Fourth falls on Saturday.

Applications are not necessary and menus of the meals will be printed in the Picayune Item. This is the eighth year the school district has offered the federally funded program. The program aims to make sure children have something to eat during the summer months. For some children, school meals are the only meals they receive, Schmidt said.

“During the serving times they (can) just come in and eat,” Schmidt said.

Assistant Superintendent Brent Harrell said that about 71 percent of the children in the school district from grades Kindergarten to 12 qualify for free or reduced lunches.

Lunch will be offered to children in those age groups at Nicholson Elementary from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. At South Side Upper Elementary, children can get breakfast from 8 to 9 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Adults also can eat at the schools during the program, but there will be a charge. Breakfast for adults will cost $1.75 while lunch will cost $3, Schmidt said.

Meals will be kid friendly but nutritious, Schmidt said.

Last year the program provided 8,100 meals in the Picayune area. Schmidt said the district has a goal of serving 10,000 meals this year.

The program will end two weeks before the start of the new school year on Aug. 6, to give the food service staff time to prepare kitchens and serving areas for the new school year.