Summer feeding program begins Monday
by Mark Andrews
Jun 01, 2013 | 2365 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Carla Zimmerman prepares to cook hotdogs while Marless Neeley readies some for delivery. The two cooks were part of a previous Summer Feeding Program conducted by Cartersville City Schools. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News, File
Carla Zimmerman prepares to cook hotdogs while Marless Neeley readies some for delivery. The two cooks were part of a previous Summer Feeding Program conducted by Cartersville City Schools. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News, File
slideshow
In most areas within Bartow County and Cartersville city school districts, more than 50 percent of students rely on free or reduced meals throughout the school year, says Cartersville Nutrition Director Tracey Morris. Beginning Monday, the city will participate in the United States Department of Agriculture’s Summer Feeding Program, which will feature dozens of locations throughout Bartow County and Cartersville.

Stops include the Brook Drive area, Erwin Street area, Cartersville Village Shopping Center, Governors Court, Massell Drive, Hannon Way, Morgan Square and the Atco area as well as Amberwood Apartments, Hometowne, Mountain Chase, The Oasis, Oakwood Apartments, Trestle Court, Oakdale Apartments, Dellinger Park Pool, North Town Park, Alexandria Apartments, Cartersville Gardens, Etowah Village, The Hannah, Noble Hill, Alexander Chapel United Methodist Church and Douglas Street United Methodist Church.

Many other churches and locations also will serve as a center-point for food drop-offs and a full list may be acquired from the Cartersville City School system, 770-382-5880.

“[The program is] an extension of the national school lunch program we participate in throughout the year, the only difference is that different groups come into [Cartersville Primary School] and they take the food to where the children are,” Morris said. “We have two buses that run routes through Cartersville city for them to stop for children to eat. We have two vans that run [to areas] where the buses can’t get, and then we have a lot of county sites and church sites in the community.”

While Cartersville schools have touted their ability to provide nutritious items like whole grains, fruits and vegetables to students before federal standards began requiring more of these items, Morris said meeting the new food standards for the lunchroom will be a challenge on the road.

“We thought that maybe there was going to be a waiver because I was having a hard time figuring out how to serve the products they want us to serve, but there is not a waiver, we’re going to have to stick to 650 calories for K-8 [for example],” Morris said, adding high school students are limited to 800 calories at lunch. “Every day last summer we had a cookie, and now we’ll have a cookie once a week. We’re going to have fruit smoothies. We’re going to have a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, and I really hope the kids will take advantage of that and ... Actually I have done some research and have found a way we can cook potatoes and corn and put it in a bag and cook it in an oven and serve it hot to the kids. We haven’t done that yet, but we are hoping it will work.”

While the intent of the summer feeding program is to feed hungry children, it has met criticism on the national level because it does not require a student to be on free or reduced lunch to participate.

“I don’t think they’re aware of how many hungry children we have and I think times have changed,” Morris said. “It’s for children, so it doesn’t bother me if you’re feeding a child. If you were feeding someone who was an adult and could work, maybe I would have a problem with that, but I don’t have a problem feeding children.”

The program will be operated by school nutrition employees and assisted by local college students, who will be serving as volunteers.