Summer Food Program Helping Local Students

By: Althea Paul
By: Althea Paul

June 12, 2006

Now that summer is here it means no school for a majority of students for the next several months, but it can also mean a lack of nutrition for certain kids not getting regular school lunches. One local school is working to make sure kids get the food they need.

Fluvanna County students line up at Central Elementary for snack time.

"I get to eat snacks, breakfast snacks, cereal, sometimes Rice Krispies and milk," said nine-year-old Tyjai Richardson.

"Rice Krispie treats and chips," added nine-year-old Elizabeth Gardiner.

It's an important part of the school's summer program, and for the second year Central has teamed up with the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank and their Summer Food Service Program. It gives the school free snacks, which in turn allows them to use money for other things.

"It gives us that chance to offer scholarships to those kids that come whose families can't afford to come," said Director of Extended Education at Central Gary Greenwood.

The program is a good way to make sure more kids are getting the nutritious meals and snacks they need.

"There are a lot of kids that are home that are doing nothing but sitting in front of the TV eating junk food and not getting out. We're giving them the opportunity to participate in physical activities and also offering nutritious meals to them, and a lot of kids don't have much in a way to eat at home," said Greenwood.

And the school's summer program also adds in lots of physical activity, hoping to keep kids all around healthier.

"We go down to the gym to play basketball, climb on all the play stuff, " said Elizabeth.

"My favorite part is the gym, so I like to be there most of the time," said 11-year-old Daquan Stinnie.

The food bank believes the Food Service Program will grow by an estimated 50 percent over last year. By adding at least 11 more feeding sites, they're hoping to give food security to as many kids as possible for the next several months.

Later this month the food bank is also set to team up with Venable Elementary in Charlottesville as well.

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