The Summer Food Service Program is a program aimed at making sure every child in Jackson has a nutritious meal.
These meals fill the gap when children are on those long summer breaks and it's free.When school is out, many of these children may not be eating healthy or maybe not having any food at all.
Hundreds of children packed into McWillie Elementary on Thursday for a free hot meal. While some food on the plate was unusual, everything was healthy.
“They love hot chips, they love candy and hot fries," said program participant Alexis Lewis. "It is unhealthy for them and it slows them down versus with broccoli or other types of vegetables.”
Jackson Public Schools is operating the Summer Feed at 12 sites across the metro area, and the number of children joining the program grows every year.
“Last year, we did 90,000 meals last year for the sites that we had and it is needed," said Mary Hill, Executive Director of Food Services for Jackson Public Schools. "Our children need to have somewhere they can go to get a nutritional meal in the summer.”
Mary Anna McDonniel of Magnolia Health couldn't agree more.
“We have a great little game at our table when we go out to these events," said McDonniel. "They have a healthy plate and it is a certain portion of protein, of vegetables, fruits and dairy products.”
They helped sponsor Thursday's event to get the word out about feed, along with what's considered healthy food and eating.
“It starts early with children because if you don"t get the obesity under control that can lead to diabetes,” added McDonniel.
The Food Service Program will be at the following school sites:
Blackburn Middle School
Brinkley Middle School
Callaway High School
Isable Elementary School
Key Elementary School
Lake Elementary School
Lanier High School
Pecan Park Elementary School
Powell Middle School
Woodville Hgts. Elem. School
The dates for the program are from June 6 - July 15, but closed on July 4th. Serving time will be 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday. You must be 18 years old or younger to participate.