Free summer lunches in Dougherty Co. to continue with state help - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Free summer lunches in Dougherty Co. to continue with state, federal help

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Dougherty County Schools offers free lunches to students during the school year, and now they will help fill a need for food during the summer break.

The system is teaming up with the state and the city of Albany to make sure students can still receive free meals, even when school isn't in session this summer.

The school system provides 21,000 meals each day to students. For some, that's the only food they'll get all day.

"Across the country one in five children are food insecure, meaning that they don't know where their next meal is coming from," explained Dougherty County Schools Nutrition Director Blaine Allen.

Last summer some 1,800 lunches were given out each day. School officials had kitchens at two schools making the meals, but they may need more this year.

"There's a great void in our community when you talk about children not having a healthy, nutritious meal. That's critical," said Allen. "And that's all part of their development. And anytime when you can fill that void, I mean it's rewarding."

A federally funded program called the Seamless Summer Option helps school systems throughout the state provide meals at preapproved sites. Dougherty County sites were run by the city last year.

But the system has also partnered with the City of Albany Recreation Department to try to feed more children.  

"This year they asked us to take over those sites and they know that our business is school nutrition and we feed children, that's our expertise," said Allen. "And we got a staff that's dedicated and willing to take care of the children in Dougherty County."

Lunches are prepared in school kitchens, then the food is taken to the sites where children can enjoy a free, warm meal.

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