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Schools' feeding program helps kids fight hunger during summer

Friday, June 21, 2013 6:39 PM
Last updated Saturday, June 22, 2013 2:26 PM
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Along with keeping four grandchildren boredom-free through summer afternoons, it’s Teresa Lee’s job to keep their stomachs from grumbling.

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Wendarius Harris, 11, eats Goldfish crackers during lunch at the May Park Community Center, one of 63 locations in Richmond County serving meals as part of a summer feeding program.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Wendarius Harris, 11, eats Goldfish crackers during lunch at the May Park Community Center, one of 63 locations in Richmond County serving meals as part of a summer feeding program.

She tries to have turkey sandwiches or green salads fixed for them on the table, but that’s not always so easy.

During the school year, Lee’s grandchildren and thousands of other students are entitled to the free breakfast and lunch program offered by the Richmond County School System, but when summer hits, the responsibility falls to families that often need help.

To fill the nutritional void that some families feel when school is out, the system is offering a no-cost summer feeding program to all students 18 years and younger. The program, funded by Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning’s Bright From the Start, serves breakfast and lunch at 63 locations across the county until the end of July.

“It’s nice to have a place for the kids to eat,” Lee said. “Sometimes you don’t know what you’ll have from one day to the next, so this helps.”

The system’s nutrition director, Josephine Mack, said the schools provided 91,000 breakfasts and lunches last summer. It has been in operation since 1992 and joins at some locations with other camps and youth programs.

Because 71 percent of Richmond County students qualify for free lunches and 6 percent for reduced-price meals, Mack said there is a need for the district to step in so kids don’t go hungry.

“These meals are the same meals the children are used to during the regular school year,” Mack said. “With the economy how it is and with some family situations, we just want them to have the food they’re used to when school is in. …”

On Friday, Lee’s grandchildren enjoyed a lunch of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, cheese stick, Goldfish crackers, fruit cup and milk at May Park Community Center, where about 30 youngsters eat each day.

The Bright From the Start program funds summer feeding operations in four school districts across Georgia, but many others are funded by the state Department of Education’s Seamless Summer Option, according to Falita Flowers, the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning Nutrition Program’s manager.

School systems are reimbursed based on the total number of meals served per site per meal type. Flowers said the program is vital for making sure children are not missing out on meals just because school is out.

“You may have (a) situation where children are not receiving a good, quality meal while out during the summer,” Flowers said. “This allows children to have access to a healthy meal.”

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soapy_725
43676
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soapy_725 06/22/13 - 08:48 am
0
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Federal Government Adoption. Full time. A village or a
Unpublished

plantation? Those whose livelyhood/money depends on "people who cannot care for themselves" will always search out more clients.

soapy_725
43676
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soapy_725 06/22/13 - 08:49 am
1
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Where is the prosecution of child neglect for the parents?
Unpublished

Who does not feed their children first?

soapy_725
43676
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soapy_725 06/22/13 - 08:50 am
0
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Government Programs. Government Grants. Six figure babysitters
Unpublished

Its is a disease. Sick social workers feeding off of the less fortunate.

Riverman1
83717
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Riverman1 06/22/13 - 09:11 am
7
1
So they still get food

So they still get food stamps? Are we saying the people who get food stamps are not responsible enough to feed their kids? Really, for better or worse, it appears everyone in America gets a free lunch these days.

rmwhitley
5547
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rmwhitley 06/22/13 - 09:33 am
0
0
I feel sorry for
Unpublished

the kids but their free-loading parent or parents need to get off of their derriere or derrieres. Kids, get an education so that you don't do this to your kids.

Pops
8331
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Pops 06/22/13 - 10:04 am
4
1
It's a matter

of time before they move these kids into dorms at the schools so they can be cared for by the state 24-7...........

dichotomy
32843
Points
dichotomy 06/22/13 - 11:09 am
3
3
Are the parents of these kids

Are the parents of these kids getting FOOD STAMPS to feed them? This is another taxpayer rip-off.

I don't remember signing up to feed everyone else's rugrats.....TWICE. Give them food stamps and then feed them separately on another taxpayer boondoggle.

For every kid being fed by this program, the family's food stamps should be cut by 2/3s of the amount they are drawing for that kid. We are feeding them twice a day and PAYING THEIR PARENTS TO FEED THEM and I want my money back from the double ENTITLEMENT.

We are not feeding these kids because the parents don't have the money to feed them. We are feeding them because the parents are too lazy and sorry to feed them. I'm tired of paying for useless people who are leeching off of the taxpayers. So cut the money off for this DOUBLE ENTITLEMENT on ONE END OR THE OTHER. Either stop this feeding kids at school or cut the food stamps the parents are getting to feed them. And if you keep the program to feed them in the school, not only should you cut off the welfare but you should also charge the parents enough to pay for the cooks, administrators, electricity, etc. that it takes to run the program.

RedQuinoa
2327
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RedQuinoa 06/22/13 - 11:16 am
4
2
Have you ever been in a position where you...

wonder where/when your next meal is coming from? I have not, but I certainly have learned empathy for those who do experience that reality. I'm sure these very kids sometimes wonder that, and it's a very difficult reality to face. In fact, over 50 millions Americans are in this unenviable position today - so please don't blame them for having food stamps. That in itself is not enough.

corgimom
32220
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corgimom 06/22/13 - 01:34 pm
5
2
Food stamp recipients never

Food stamp recipients never get enough to cover the cost of feeding a person, so the idea of "double dipping" doesn't apply.

Let me tell you the truth on this. For a lot of those kids, that lunch is the best meal that they will have all day. It also gets those kids out of the house, someone can check on them each day, and problems can be caught quickly.

It is also better than their parents and custodians taking them to the soup kitchens and exposing them to the adults that go there. And before anybody says anything to me, I am a former volunteer of the Master's Table, I stopped going because it was too dangerous. Where do you think all the sex offenders, criminals, mentally ill, and drug addicts go for a meal? It is FAR better to feed those children away from that. I notice nobody on here talks about taking away food stamps for the people that go to the soup kitchens. Why is that?

There are a lot of parents out there with a lot of problems, some of their making, some not. It is amazing to me that anyone would object to feeding children. CHILDREN, who are helpless.

The poverty rate in Augusta is enormous, unemployment is high, many people are struggling. It is sickening to read some of these comments- I just thank God that I have enough to eat, I know what it's like to be hungry. I also know what it's like to have parents with problems, and parents who are ill. I would far rather my tax money be spent on feeding children and keeping them healthy, then paying for their medical care after they get sick.

You know, many military families get food stamps. Many people that work get food stamps. Many people that are fostering children get food stamps, or elderly or disabled people are raising children. I wonder how many people would think that those people are abusing the system.

The average food stamps for one person, such as a foster child, is $159 per month. I wonder how many of you could feed a child for $159 per month, especially an older child. That's less than $40 per week. The maximum amount is $200, less than $50 per week.

We have a city that applies for every grant that comes down the pike, for every hare-brained idea and for "studies". I'd far rather my tax dollars go to helping people, than funding every scheme dreamed up by rich people looking to get richer, as is the case in Augusta. And I'd rather my tax dollars going to feed hungry children than grants like the $10,000 grant given to ASU to "help students manage their financial aid". $10,000 to teach ADULTS how to manage their money. In my day, if you were bright enough to attend college, you were bright enough to figure out that if you spent all of your money on stupid stuff, you wouldn't have any left to pay your bills.

Worry about that, instead of begrudging children a meal.

Grandpa Jones
1050
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Grandpa Jones 06/22/13 - 01:45 pm
3
1
Corgimom...

Great Post!!!

seenitB4
86952
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seenitB4 06/22/13 - 02:27 pm
3
0
AS much as I hate freebies

I have to give credit where it is due.....corgi is right....some druggies & some parents could care less if the kids ever get a decent meal....we have big problems all across the USA with drug addicts.....we can cut some stupid programs in other places...if our parents hadn't gardened we would have been hungry too....you don't want abortions......why not feed the babies you want in the womb.... ?

chascushman
6653
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chascushman 06/22/13 - 03:46 pm
2
0
"To fill the nutritional void
Unpublished

"To fill the nutritional void that some families feel when school is out, the system is offering a no-cost summer feeding program to all students 18 years and younger."
Why cut off at 18 why not make it 35 or 40?? Teen age kids could be working to help feed themselves, I DID.

RMSHEFF
16001
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RMSHEFF 06/22/13 - 03:42 pm
1
0
Sad

This is a very sad picture in many ways but I am glad the children are being fed. This is a generational cycle with almost no way of escape.
Once again, if you pull the curtain back you will find that most of these children are from one parent homes. This is the common thread running through households in poverty. A single mother with several children, a minimum wage job or no job at all.

chascushman
6653
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chascushman 06/22/13 - 03:44 pm
1
0
"I wonder how many of you
Unpublished

"I wonder how many of you could feed a child for $159 per month, especially an older child."
I could feed a kid easily for $159 a month. Rice, dried beans and oatmeal are not very expensive.

corgimom
32220
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corgimom 06/22/13 - 03:47 pm
2
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Chascuchman, do you know the

Chascuchman, do you know the difference between a child and an adult?

With very few exceptions, people under 18 are in school and unable to support themselves. They cannot work full-time and they are dependent on others to be fed.

Another one that begrudges feeding CHILDREN that are unable to care for themselves. How nice.

RMSHEFF
16001
Points
RMSHEFF 06/22/13 - 03:47 pm
2
0
I ran across this last

I ran across this last Monday.
Last month, the Senate Budget Committee reports that in fiscal year 2011, between food stamps, housing support, child care, Medicaid and other benefits, the average U.S. household below the poverty line received $168.00 a day in government support. What’s the problem with that much support? Well, the median household income in America is just over $50,000, which averages out to $137.13 a day. To put it another way, being on welfare now pays the equivalent of $30.00 an hour for a 40-hour week, while the average job pays $20.00 an hour.

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 06/22/13 - 03:50 pm
2
1
This situation has been
Unpublished

This situation has been caused by the liberals, democrats and many black leaders, thanks guys. The more they enslave to the gov't the better they like it.

corgimom
32220
Points
corgimom 06/22/13 - 03:52 pm
1
2
Chascushman, if you feed a

Chascushman, if you feed a child a diet consisting of rice, dried beans, and oatmeal, that is abuse. That is malnourishment.

Growing children need balanced diets. Poorly nourished children become sick children and then sick adults. They need fruit. They need vegetables. They need milk. They need meat.

You know what? Back in the old days, kids who ate like that developed rickets and scurvy and pellagra.

Who would wish that on a child?

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 06/22/13 - 03:53 pm
1
1
corgimom, you did not respond
Unpublished

corgimom, you did not respond to my reply to your question.' I could feed a kid easily for $159 a month. Rice, dried beans and oatmeal are not very expensive.'

corgimom
32220
Points
corgimom 06/22/13 - 04:02 pm
1
1
Chascushman, if you think

Chascushman, if you think that every dollar spent on welfare programs goes to the recipients, you are delusional. Your logic is nonsensical. But thanks for sharing.

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 06/22/13 - 04:03 pm
1
0
" Back in the old days, kids
Unpublished

" Back in the old days, kids who ate like that developed rickets and scurvy and pellagra."
corgimom, it is obvious you do not know what you are talking about. I was raised on dried beans and the only meat during the week was a small piece of fatback in the beans. We did have a little chicken on Sunday.
When I was 14 I was working to help feed my family. None of these folks are poorer than we were.

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 06/22/13 - 04:20 pm
1
0
"you are delusional. Your
Unpublished

"you are delusional. Your logic is nonsensical."
corgimom, you can call me all the names you wish. I DO NOT object to feeding hungry kids but were does it stop. I do not call young men and women 17 & 18 kids. If they are not going to school they should be looking for work. But why should they? They being fed, clothed & housed by the working taxpayers so why should? They are the next generation of slaves to the gov't.

corgimom
32220
Points
corgimom 06/22/13 - 04:42 pm
1
1
Chascushman, you be sure and

Chascushman, you be sure and tell members of the military that they should only feed their children rice, dried beans, and oatmeal.

See how far that would get you. Because a lot of them are on food stamps. Serve your country, malnourish your child?

And yes, a 17 year old is still a kid. They are minors, they- with few exceptions- are still in school. Sorry if you don't agree, but that's the truth.

And of course, you also realize that there are major restrictions on how many hours and types of work that a 17 year old can do- but why worry about details like that? Those restrictions weren't around years ago, who do you know that wants to violate Federal laws by hiring a minor in violation of the laws? Those are facts, Chas, not just what I think.

And oh yes, Chas, I do know what I am talking about. I personally know people that had rickets as a child, due to poverty, and it deformed their bones. And you can look back at all the death certificates and see how many people died of pellagra. Both of my parents had health and dental problems as adults that were directly related to their malnourishment as children. But you and your family must be very special, that you could eat dried beans and fatback and a little chicken, every day of the year, until you grew up, and you never had any health problems. You are one extraordinary individual, that's for sure. No fruit, no vegetables, no bread, no red meat, no eggs, no milk, no cheese, no fish, and you and your family never had any health problems. Wow. That's amazing.

To look at the total amount spent on welfare programs and suggest that a welfare recipient receives those dollars- who would think that? Do you think that social workers and administrators and secretaries and accountants all work for free? The buildings where they work- they are free, too? Stop reading the websites that are biased, slanted, and just plain untrue and use your common sense.

You present that nonsense as facts, when nothing could be farther from the truth.

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 06/22/13 - 04:57 pm
1
1
corgimom, as I SAID 'I DO NOT
Unpublished

corgimom, as I SAID 'I DO NOT object to feeding hungry kids but were does it stop'.
As I said earlier the liberals & the democrats are creating the next 'generation of slaves to the gov't'.

corgimom
32220
Points
corgimom 06/22/13 - 05:04 pm
1
1
It stops when they AREN"T

It stops when they AREN"T CHILDREN anymore and are OUT OF SCHOOL, it's for children 18 and younger

chascushman
6653
Points
chascushman 06/22/13 - 05:10 pm
1
0
corgimom. you said "You
Unpublished

corgimom. you said "You present that nonsense as facts". When in fact you said, "And yes, a 17 year old is still a kid. They are minors, they- with few exceptions- are still in school."
Once again you are mistaken this program is "To fill the nutritional void that some families feel when school is out, the system is offering a no-cost summer feeding program to all students 18 years and younger." Why do you not understand about "when school is out".
As I said the liberals, democrats and black leaders are creating the next generation of slaves to the gov't.

owensjef3
5639
Points
owensjef3 06/22/13 - 05:40 pm
0
2
Oh boy
Unpublished

Oh boy

just an opinion
2636
Points
just an opinion 06/22/13 - 05:42 pm
3
1
Re: food stamps

Go to Blimpie on the day that the EBT cards are issued $. They get five Blimpie's each, heavy mayonnaise and usually two thugs are with them who typically get a couple of 22 ounce beers from the other register to go. They should at least let us working class folks go ahead of them. We are paying for the stuff and we have to get back to work.

Pops
8331
Points
Pops 06/22/13 - 05:52 pm
1
0
Lyndon Johnson

you were a saint.

scoobynews
3854
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scoobynews 06/22/13 - 06:19 pm
3
0
Chascushman

It will only stop when the government no longer makes it easy to pop out 4 or 5 kids on the government dime. I do not object to any child being feed but when you make it easy for people to have babies who from birth are helped by the government it just gets out of hand. Why not pop out 4 or 5 kids when Uncle Sam picks up the bill before birth and after delivery. It is all about birth control. Women who are not married and live in poverty NEED to stop having babies. I knew of a woman through a friend who was related to one of the baby daddies. She is 40 with 16 children. One of which has passed away. There are about 5 baby daddies in the mix. She has never worked a day in her life. Birth control is the answer. Heaven help those children already here because of the selfishness of their parents.

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