School may be out, but students still need to eat. MPB’s Alexandra Watts reports community groups are stepping in while school’s out to provide meals during summer break.
Liesa Ford is serving lunch to a group of kids at Bowmanor Apartments.
“We’re having a summer feeding program today where we have spaghetti,” Ford said listing off the day’s lunch menu. “We have green beans, applesauce and milk…and juice.”
It’s part of the USDA’s summer feeding program taking place all across Mississippi.
Greenville Reflection and Youth Development Museum is a community organization partnering with apartments, community centers and churches to provide breakfast and lunch during the break.
Sharon Walker, the program director, said providing food benefits the community.
“Mississippi is one of the areas in which poverty is rampant,” Walker said. “The nutrition here in the Delta is one of the top areas in which we must go ahead and try and help our communities.”
During the school year, kids eat at school. But in summer when parents work and transportation is not accessible, the organization brings food to those in need.
“We saw that there was a need, so what we’ve done is go ahead into the communities. We’re one of the organizations that’s different. We went to the sites and try and get the children fed,” Walker explained.
While staff knock on doors to remind kids it’s time to eat, the meals are not just for children living in the complex.
Rydell Meads, who works at the complex and has kids participating in the program, believes this benefits the kids’ nutrition and social interaction.
“It’s a good thing, too, because they’re meeting other kids. The kids that don’t know each other..they’re coming around…so, it’s a good thing,” he said.
To find a feeding center near you, visit http://usda.gov/
Alexandra Watts is a corps member with Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project. www.ReportforAmerica.org