Summer food program

Published 7:00 am Friday, May 15, 2015

For the past thirteen years, the Picayune School District has been providing a healthy meal for children during the summer months.
Picayune School District Food Service Director Debbie Byrd said that last summer the district served more than 10,000 hot meals.
The program is funded by USDA Food and Nutrition Services and is sponsored by many school districts throughout the state, Byrd said.
Byrd said the USDA authorized the summer feeding program in 1968 to ensure children, who wouldn’t otherwise get a well-balanced meal, received a nutritious, hot meal. The USDA believes good nutrition throughout the summer is essential for growth, Byrd said.
The district adheres to the same guidelines as meals served during the school year, Byrd said. Each meal will offer five components of the meal pattern including protein, vegetables, fruit, grain and dairy.
The program is also extended to vacation Bible school programs at local churches, Byrd said. A sack lunch is prepared and delivered to churches. In order to participate in the program, the church facility will have to be inspected by the Mississippi Department of Health, Byrd said.
Menus will be printed in the Item and a letter will be sent home with children next week reminding parents of the program, Byrd said.
The meals will be served at Southside Elementary, located at 1500 Rosa St., Picayune. Children who live in the Nicholson area will be provided bus transportation to the school, Byrd said. Letters will be mailed to parents within a week. Those that are interested should respond soon so a bus route can be constructed, Byrd said.
Children younger than 18 are eligible for the program, regardless of where they live, Byrd said.
Byrd said this program is important because many children wouldn’t receive a nutritious meal otherwise.
“The Picayune School District is very concerned with the children receiving meals,” Byrd said. “They do a lot for the children as far as nutrition goes. During the school year, it’s very important for students to eat breakfast and lunch, which helps them concentrate in class and be all around healthy. This is a wonderful program.”
The program begins June 1 and will last through July 17. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Byrd said.
The meal is free for children and costs $3.25 for adults.

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