Local elementary school feeds families while school is out

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – In every community, some students depend on school for access to nutritious food.

But what happens when they’re out of school?

In Starkville, the lunchroom at Henderson Ward Stewart Elementary School has stayed open since school was let out for the summer break to make sure that children in Oktibbeha County still have access to healthy meals.

“We have been having great success with our program, we have been feeding about 250-300 for breakfast every day, and almost 400 at lunch,” said Ginny Hill, Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District’s Child Nutrition Director.

Hill said the summer feeding program is not just helping children; it is helping families.

“This has definitely helped the parents with their summer food budget. It also provides some breakup in the day if they want to get out and come eat lunch with us,” said Hill.

The meals are available whether children are staying at home or somewhere else during the day.

“It helps the daycare center cut back on having to feed so many children because the school district does supply the free meals for the children. So, we just use what the community and the school district have,” said Nehemiah Turnipseed, A Bright Start Learning Center’s Codirector.

“I have a two-year-old, a three-year-old, and a seven-year-old, so it was taking a break from lunch, and letting the little ones come and see what school all is about,” said Linda Ellis, a parent.

“I think it is beneficial for a lot of families, especially families who have little ones that are not in the school district. I think it is a blessing that the school district is reaching out to the community and offering not only lunch but breakfast as well,” said Ellis.

Hill said each day, the menus are planned based on the USDA’s meal pattern requirement.

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