Summer Food Service Program bites into a local need

Published 9:40 pm Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Area children are filling their bellies with warm meals this summer.

Brookhaven School District’s Summer Food Service Program is currently underway.

Every weekday in June, free breakfast and lunch will be served at two Brookhaven schools. Breakfast and lunch will be served at Lipsey Middle School at 412 Drury Lane and lunch will be served at Fannie Mullins School at 717 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

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“I believe some children here in town would not have a hot meal for lunch if we did not provide this service,” said Tonya McSweyn, director of child nutrition.

Breakfast will be served from 7:45 to 8:45 a.m., and lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Kids 18 and younger are eligible to participate. Parents cannot eat but are encouraged to come and sit with their children while they eat their meal, McSweyn said.

Children do not have to be enrolled in the Brookhaven School District to participate in the program, and no paperwork is necessary to participate.

“We try to pick out some of the kid’s favorites,” McSweyn said.

Breakfast items include scrambled eggs, sausage and biscuits, pancake and sausage on a stick and French toast sticks. Lunch items include beef nachos, crispy chicken sandwiches, chicken nuggets, ham and cheese roll ups and chili cheese dogs.

All meals are served with milk and assorted fruit juices.

The program has been offered in the school district for nearly 40 years. McSweyn encourages participation so Brookhaven can continue to receive funding through the USDA for the program.

Babysitters can bring children to eat breakfast and lunch, along with anyone who is part of a Vacation Bible School program

Last summer, the program provided 2,751 breakfasts and 5,661 lunches to area children. That’s down from 2017’s figures of 3,300 breakfasts and 7,291 lunches.

“Our favorite thing about operating the Summer Food Service Program is being able to provide a hot breakfast and lunch to children that may otherwise not have a hot meal option when parents are at work,” McSweyn said.

Since the program began Monday, workers have served 126 breakfasts and 479 lunches.

The school district is reimbursed for the number of meals meeting the guidelines set by the USDA.

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Story by Gracie Byrne