Changes made to summer feeding programs because of growing need

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Summer feeding programs across the Piedmont Triad will begin in the next couple weeks as a part of the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program.

Many counties have added more feeding sites at school cafeterias to make up for the growing need.

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools and Chartwells are offering the summer feeding program at the following schools Monday through Thursday for children 18 and under from June 23 to August 14:

Ashley Elementary, Cook Elementary, Diggs-Latham Elementary, Easton Elementary, Forest Park Elementary, Gibson Elementary, Hall-Woodward Elementary, Kennedy High, Kernersville Elementary, Kimberley Park Elementary, Kimmel Farm Elementary, Konnoak Elementary, Mineral Springs Elementary, Mineral Springs Middle, North Hills Elementary, Petree Elementary, Philo-Hill Middle, Sedge Garden Elementary, Speas Elementary and Wiley Middle.

Randolph County Schools have expanded their program this year to the following four sites: Randleman Elementary, Southmont Elementary, Franklinville Elementary and Trinity Elementary.

Approximately 56 percent of the students in the county are on free or reduced meals.

Tim Moody, Randolph County Schools spokesman, said they will continue to expand the program each year, but this will take several years of trial and error on how to best meet the needs during the summer months and also to encourage parents/guardians to bring children into these sites.

Guilford County Schools will start up their summer feeding program on June 18, which also runs Monday through Thursday, through July 31.

Nutrition Supervisor Wanda Barber said that the need for the county has grown 10 to 15 percent based on the growing number of applications for free and reduced meals.

In addition to adding two more sites to total 17, they will serve breakfast and lunch at the 2 and 3 grade summer reading camps at 14 additional sites.

Executive Director Fitzgerald, Jr. of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC said that access to the existing county feeding location is limited.

To bridge the gap and help families who may live in rural areas, the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC in Winston-Salem is distributing more than a half a million meals over the next week to service 18 counties.

The food bank also offers a Summer Food Service Program that serves meals to 1,000 children seven days a week.

New this year are the family boxes that can assist the entire family with 15 to 18 healthy meal options for the week.

“If there is a hungry child, there are hungry siblings, the whole family is hungry. So we are trying to address that hunger on the basis of the entire family to do as much as we can,” Fitzgerald said. “Of the 300,000 plus people that we're serving now about 100,000 are children.”

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