Free summer feeding program underway for Brooks County students

The school board provides free meals every Monday until the start of school.
Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 5:59 PM EDT
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QUITMAN, Ga. (WALB) - The Brooks County Board of Education is at five different locations serving over 300 meal boxes to anyone with children who needs them.

The Brooks County School Board provides five breakfast and five lunch meals for free every Monday until the start of school. It’s available for any child 18 and younger.

For some families in Brooks County, feeding their children may be a little harder to do during the summer - let alone keeping them entertained. But the Brooks County Board of Education is looking to help these families by giving out free books and meals this summer.

Brooks County Schools is a recipient of the L4GA Grant. Part of that grant is for community outreach, which the school board uses to encourage parents to read with their children this summer.

“The books we are providing through the summer feeding program are to encourage families to read for at least 15 minutes per day with their children in an effort to sustain the reading skills we have provided during the school year,” Beth Lee, Literacy Specialist for Brooks County Schools, said.

Brooks County School Nutrition Specialist Chynna Silvernale said this is important to keep the children healthy.

“It’s just a way to make sure our kids are fed in our community all year long, not only just for the school year. We want to make sure our kids are healthy, active and still maintain those healthy habits,” Silvernale said.

Those free books are available for pickup throughout the summer, and the library has books that can be borrowed and returned.

“We also have a school-Quitman Elementary that is opening its media center for families to check out books and take accelerated reader tests throughout the summer,” Lee said. “In addition to that, the summer feeding programs will distribute books, and if they’re not returned, that’s okay. A book in the hands of a child is our goal.”

The school board is a federal program, meaning they are able to claim a child that receives a meal, and they are able to receive funds for every person who participates. They recognize that there is a need to continue to provide these services to families in the community.

“If we have a family that is in need of food, they can come out and get one box per child, and they’re also able to get free books. We have books that are age appropriate because we do have adolescents as well as smaller kids,” Gabby Potts, volunteer and school district worker, said. “A lot of times moms or whoever are raising the children, they are working and may not have time or the resources to prepare the food and this is just helping them out tremendously.”

“There is a high poverty rate in our county, so we want to make sure that those families that are really in need of those meals have the opportunity to pick them up, so we have five different site locations around the county to make it more feasible for these parents and the community,” says Silvernale.

Pickup is at five locations throughout Brooks County from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and will be every Monday until July 31. Those locations are Movern City Hall, JH Wells Center, Stone’s Hardware, Dollar General (Troupville), and Dixie Post Office.

The dates are June 5, 12, 20, 26, and July 10, 17, 24, and 31st.