Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Features

June 18, 2014

Feeding the need, summer program provides meals for children

GLASGOW — This summer has given Kendra Clay a new reason to like her job.

Clay, who works as an administrative assistant with Barren County Food Services, has been driving a van throughout the county delivering lunches to kids as part of the Barren County Summer Feeding Program.

The program is free, and while it has been going on for several years, this is the first year they have been providing mobile routes.

This summer, Clay makes several stops to hand out food to about 200 kids. She makes a stop at a residential neighborhood behind Red Cross Elementary, at a few neighborhoods in Cave City and the Glasgow City Pool.

While driving the route Wednesday afternoon, she talked about the kids who she's gotten to know on these trips.

“Some of the older boys like to joke with me about which one of them is my boyfriend,” she said, laughing. “And there's a little group of girls who have started waiting for me when I pull up in the van.”

Director for food services, CheyAnne Fant, said she thinks adding the mobile routes this summer has increased participation in the program.

“We go on the same routes every day, and you can tell the kids really love it,” she said.

Fant said she attended a summer training session earlier this year on how to decide where to take mobile routes for the summer feeding program. The decision was based on a lot of census data made available online, and based on where there is already a large number in a captive audience, such as the city pool.

The summer feeding programs are a part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant, the Summer Food Service Program.

According to the USDA website, “SFSP is a federally funded state-administered program. The SFSP reimburses providers who serve healthy meals to children and teens in low-income areas at no charge primarily during the summer months when school is not in session.”

The meals are provided to all children who are 18 years old and younger, the site also says.

Not only is a mobile route provided, kids are also able to eat at North Jackson Elementary, where the 21st Century Camps are being held this year.

All together, the program feeds an average of about 270 breakfasts and 300 lunches, Fant said.

This year is particularly a good year because of all the snow days the district was allotted, employees within in Barren County Schools also had to make-up work days. So, the district is basically working people who are already getting paid, therefore saving them a lot of labor, Fant said.

“And it's really great for our employees to be a part of this, I think,” Fant said. “They get to really interact with the kids and see the difference this really makes.”

Clay couldn't have agreed more, saying she didn't know what she was going to do when school starts up and she won't get to see “her kids” every day.

“They really put a warm place in my heart,” Clay said. “This is the reason we do what we do, to help the kids.”

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