No Kid Hungry, a national organization that connects kids in need with nutritious food, reports that 1 out of 5 kids in the United States struggles with hunger. About 62 percent of teachers surveyed by the organization say they regularly see kids who come to school hungry.
Hungry kids struggle with learning, have difficulty concentrating, experience more illness and often times act out in the classroom. Our students deserve the opportunity to learn and thrive, no matter their circumstances. I’ve blogged previously about addressing the needs of the WHOLE child – to that end I am excited to announce that 50 APS school sites have been approved to participate in the Bright From The Start Supper Meal Program for the 2014-2015 school year.
This new Supper On Site Program will provide students with a free afterschool supper while attending their participating school’s traditional afterschool program or athletic practice. This means, for example—band, football and volleyball teams, robotics club, yearbook club, dance team along with students enrolled in aftercare—will receive a full meal on site. Any student participating in aftercare or sponsored afterschool activities at the 50 schools listed below can receive a full meal after school each and every day.
Last week, 58 Long Middle School students participated in our first Supper On Site pilot. They were served spaghetti with meat sauce, green beans, orange wedges and milk. 300 students were also served at Mays High School followed by 150 athletes at Douglass High School. The program will begin at all participating schools September 15.
My hope is that this nutritious food will give APS students the energy they need to concentrate on homework and join their friends in physical, educational, and social activities.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) administers the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) at the national level. Within the Georgia, the Bright From The Start Supper Meal component offers federal funding to afterschool programs that serve supper meals to children in low-income areas.
Once suppers begin at participating schools September 15, I plan to visit school sites to see the program in action and as always, I will taste test as many meals as possible. Thanks goes to the district’s head of operations, Larry Hoskins and head of nutrition, Dr. Marilyn Hughes, for implementing this program in the district.
The following schools are eligible to participate in the Supper On Site Program during the 2014-2015 school year.
- Beecher Hills
- Carver High
- Continental Colony
- D.H. Stanton
- Drew Charter
- F.L. Stanton
- Forrest Hills
- Peyton Forest
- South Atlanta
- Therrell High
- Venetian Hills
- Washington High
- West Manor