USDA provides the Summer Food Service programs for kids

Published 2:00 am Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Summer means no school, and no school sometimes means a lack of access to healthy meals. Research shows that children have a lack of nutrition during the summer months, which sets them up for poor performance when school begins again. That’s why the summer food program is important.

Monday marked the beginning of the Summer Food Service Program, SFSP, in Troy. Sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture, USDA, through the State Department of Education, 12 locations in Troy and one in Brundidge are able to serve lunch to eligible children daily from June 1 to July 17.

“There are some children that may not get a nutritious meal in the summer, so we provide that for them,” said Jann Baxter-Lee, SFSP Coordinator.

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The SFSP is offered at schools, summer camps, parks, churches, day camps and recreation centers. Baxter-Lee said that the SFSP also serves Vacation Bible School programs.

The Troy locations include The Boys and Girls Club, Charles Henderson High School, Charles Henderson Middle School, Christian Love Center, Troy Parks and Recreation, Troy Elementary School, First Missionary Baptist Church (VBS), Mother Goose Daycare, New Life Christian Academy, Outreach Endtime Deliverance Church, Springhill Housing Community, Youngblood Temple COGIC and New Beginning Church in Brundidge.

“Even kids who do not participate in that program can eat lunch there,” Baxter-Lee said.

The lunch is a sack lunch that changes each day. A typical meal would include a sandwich, fruit, juice and milk.

“The food is prepared at Troy Elementary School, and the meals are delivered in coolers to various sites,” Baxter-Lee said.

All meals are free and are provided for children 18 years old and younger. According to Baxter-Lee, the SFSP has been providing meals for children for more than 30 years.

“We just encourage children to come out and eat,” Baxter-Lee said. “If you know of children that are in need, refer them to the sites that are listed.”