Summer Feeding program making changes in Picayune

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Starting June 15 the Picayune School District will transition from five day a week service to a twice a week summer feeding program. Meals will be provided on Mondays and Wednesdays after that date. Locations for meal pickup remain the same and kids will still be able receive five breakfasts and lunches for the week, said Food Service Director Debbie Byrd.

Anyone 18 years and younger can get free grab and go meals at four sties: Roseland Park Elementary, Picayune Junior High, South Side Elementary and Nicholson Elementary. Meal pickup is available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The summer feeding program will run through July 31.

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Children must be present to receive a grab and go meal, but do not need to be enrolled in the school district.

On Mondays kids will be able to get breakfast and lunch for Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesdays, families can pickup three breakfasts and three lunches for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

There will be hot meals ready to eat on the day of pickup and instructions for heating the food provided for off days.

Kids look forward to ice cream day, which was previously held on Thursdays, said Byrd. Ice cream will still be provided in the three day meal pickup on Wednesday.

The summer feeding program has seen an increase in community participation compared to numbers from 2019. The program feeds approximately 1,350 kids in a week, for a total of 2,700 meals per week, said Byrd.

In 2019, the summer feeding program operated out of one location, South Side Elementary, and provided 7,665 meals from May until the third week of July.

In 2020, the Picayune School District has given out 130,291 grab and go meals since March 17. Byrd said she believes adding four additional locations has helped increase the program’s impact.

The Poplarville School District has distributed 20,284 grab and go meals from March 24 to present, said Child Nutrition Director Laine Jackson. That is more than is typically distributed during a summer feeding program, but less than the district would typically serve during the school year, said Jackson.

The Poplarville School District’s feeding program will run until June 26. Free grab and go meals for anyone 18 and younger are offered Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the Middle School of Poplarville from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.