Dougherty schools serve up the hot meals - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Dougherty schools serve up the hot meals

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August 22, 2003

Albany-- You've heard the old saying "There is no such thing as a free lunch." Well that's no longer true for students in Dougherty County Schools. All students get free lunch and breakfast this year. And the number of students eating those lunches has increased dramatically at the high schools.

Anna Roth now eats lunch at Westover High School everyday. Anna said "Cause it's free."

Most of Anna's classmates are also getting into the school lunch habit. Twenty percent more students are getting lunch this year, now that's it free. And that's just fine with the schools.

 Nutrition Director Stan McWhorter said "The more children that eat, the more opportunity they have to get the meal. And that in turn helps them learn. A hungry child can not learn, so we want to make certain it is here for them to eat."

Dougherty County schools will serve 13,000 lunches a day, about 3,500 more than last year. Serving all those lunches is a challenge. Westover has three serving lines and is adding a fourth soon.

McWhorter said "We've looked at our staffing and we will continue to look at our staffing in order to accomodate it. We've got plans underway for additional serving lines at the other high schools as well."

 Today, students got to choose from chicken fingers, hot wings, or pizza. Most kids say they are eating school lunches more than last year. Roth said "sometimes I did, but this year I am everyday."

Michael Anderson said, "Because it's free, and it's real good."

These free school lunches are paid for with federal funds, not local tax money. McWhorter said "No there is no extra charge. It's actually saving them money, they are not having to pay for lunches, so it's putting money in their pocket."

The Dougherty County Schools nutrition program has a ten million dollar budget, to pay for serving more than 21,000 breakfasts and lunches a day.

posted at 3:35PM by dave.miller@walb.com