Program Feeds Thousands Of Needy Students This Summer

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Program Feeds Thousands Of Needy Students This Summer

CREATED Jun 2, 2014
by Aundrea Cline-Thomas

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - At least 58,000 students in Metro Schools are eligible for free and reduced lunch. Without a summer food service program, many of those students would spend the next two months hungry.

“I have some strawberries, apple sauce a sandwich, animal crackers and chocolate milk,” camper Ire'yanna Thomas said.

It's lunchtime at Coleman Park Recreation Center's summer camp. It’s one of about one hundred locations for the Metropolitan Action Commission (MAC) food service program. On the first day, the agency distributed more than 6,000 free lunches alone at its participating sites across Davidson County.

“Usually we don't hit that until the second or third week into the summer food service program,” spokesperson Lisa McCrady said. “And so we anticipate that the need is growing.”

That increasing demand is keeping everyone at Berry Head Start very busy.

“We start this shift every morning at 7:00,” MAC Nutrition Coordinator Sharon Suggs explained. “7:00(am) to 3:30(pm) this is what we do.”

During the summer, the air conditioning is cranked up in the auditorium that’s transformed into a well-oiled food prep machine. Last year, they packaged 225,000 meals at that location.

“It changes every week,” Suggs said about the menu. “You get three sandwiches a week and two other items other than the sandwich.”

Each balanced meal ends up in the hands of a child who may have otherwise gone without.

“Nashville has about 75 percent of children who qualify for free and reduced lunch in our city alone,” McCrady said.

Any child in Davidson County, who wants to eat breakfast or lunch, won't be turned away. All they have to do is show up at an affiliated site, whether they're a part of the programs there or not.

“It was delicious,” Thomas said about her lunch. The applesauce she pointed out was her favorite.

To find a provider near you or to become an affiliated site contact the MAC.

Email: acline-thomas@newschannel5.com