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MCSD plans to keep 24 local schools open for summer feeding program

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) - Those who watch our kids come and go from school every day know hunger does not end when the bell rings. A recent study by Feeding America shows 1 in 6 children, roughly 13 million, struggle with hunger.

"More often than people would think, we do find that students will come in on Mondays not having had a meal over the weekend," says Nelson Reames, the School Nutrition Specialist for the Muscogee County School District.

With the end of the school year less than one week away, MCSD staff are already gearing up to open doors for the 2018 Summer Feeding Program. The USDA offers several options to school districts around the nation so they can keep their nutrition programs running during summer vacation.

"A lot of times our cafeterias are their food hubs, and that is where their next meal is coming from," Reames explains. "So to have a program like this that's running through the summer is really... we know in our hearts that it's helping people."

Community members and students tell News 3's Mikhaela Singleton they are glad the program never lost momentum since MCSD first chose to participate more than 25 years ago.

"That's what they did when I was younger, and I appreciate it now as a parent," says Deon Howard, who's daughter attends J.D. Davis Elementary. "We used to go up to Baker High School every morning to eat breakfast. It took a lot off my mom I know, not having to worry and having kids out the house."

"I think it's good because some people don't have money to buy food at home, so they could just come to the school and get they own food for free," says 4th grader Antwan Burch.

"I love it. I'm glad that [the school district] think like that cause the kids love it and they love them for doing it," says local grandmother Earnestine Pugh.

The Muscogee County School District distributed more than 130,000 meals between June and July of 2017. One local cafeteria manager tells News 3 she always plans to come in, even during vacation, to help the kids who depend on her.

"It's an honor for me. It's an honor to come to work every day to feed kids that I know that need it," says Debbie Debrow-Geenlee. "There's a great need for this. A lot of kids if they don't have this program, they're not going to eat, so that's at least two meals a day that they'll be able to get."

The summer feeding program offers breakfast and lunch between June 4 and July 19. Food will be served 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. for breakfast and 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for lunch. The doors of every participating school will be open Monday to Thursday, with the exception of July 4.

Any child can come to any participating school, even if it is not their own, and will not need to fulfill any requirements to receive a meal. Reames says the only limitation is meals can only be served to students under 18 or under 21 with an established physical or mental disability.

The list of MCSD schools serving food this summer are as follows:

  • Arnold Middle School: 2011 51st St, Columbus, GA 31904
  • Baker Middle School: 1215 Benning Dr, Columbus, GA 31903
  • Brewer Middle School: 2951 Martin Luther King Columbus, GA 31906
  • Carver High School: 3100 8th St, Columbus, GA 31906
  • Davis Elementary School: 1822 Shepherd Dr, Columbus, GA 31906
  • Dawson Elementary School: 180 Northstar Dr, Columbus, GA 31907
  • Double Churches Middle School: 7611 Whitesville Rd, Columbus, GA 31904
  • Dorothy Heights Elementary School: 1458 Benning Dr, Columbus, GA 31903
  • East Columbus Middle School: 6100 Georgetown Drive Columbus, GA 31907 
  • Eddy Middle School: 2100 S. Lumpkin Rd, Columbus, GA 31903
  • Forrest Road Elementary School: 6400 Forrest Road Columbus, GA 31907
  • Fort Middle School: 2900 Woodruff Farm Road Columbus, GA 31907
  • Fox Elementary School: 600 38th Street Columbus, GA 31904
  • Johnson Elementary School: 3700 Woodlawn Avenue Columbus, GA 31904
  • Jordan High School: 3200 Howard Avenue Columbus, GA 31904
  • Key Elementary School: 2520 Broadmoor Drive Columbus, GA 31903
  • Lonnie Jackson Academy: 4601 Buena Vista Rd, Columbus, GA 31907
  • Martin Luther King Elementary School: 350 30th Avenue Columbus, GA 31903
  • Midland Academy: 7373 Psalmond Road Midland, GA 31820
  • Rigdon Road Elementary School: 1320 Rigdon Rd, Columbus, GA 31906
  • South Columbus Elementary School: 1964 Torch Hill Road Columbus, GA 31903 
  • Spencer High School: 4340 Victory Drive Columbus, GA 31903
  • St. Mary's Road Magnet Academy: 4408 St Marys Rd, Columbus, GA 31907
  • Wesley Heights Elementary School: 8101 Amber Dr, Columbus, GA 31907

Across the nation, if you would like to find a school near you with a USDA summer feeding program call 1-866-348-6479 or text "summer meals" to 97779.


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