MILLEDGEVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – A Middle Georgia school district is addressing child hunger by giving after school students dinner. The Evening Meal Service started Monday for students in the Baldwin County School District.
A school nutritionist says for many of the students, school is the only time they’re guaranteed nutritious meals.
“We have a lot of children that come from homes with food insecurities. We have kids coming in Monday morning that are very hungry and then on Fridays we try to feed their little bellies full also,” Midway Hill Primary School Nutritionist Susan Nelson said.
Nelson says students will be served hot meals.
Dinners are funded through a federal grant from the Child and Adult Care Food Program.
Nelson says many of students don’t get home until after dinner time.
“Some of our after school programs run as late as 6:30 and then many of the kids have to get on a bus and ride 30, 45 minutes to get home so you know they may not get home until 7 at night. It’s hard to focus when anyone is hungry. You’re thinking about your tummy being hungry,” she said.
Assistant Principal Terri Carty says they hope to address child hunger and increase student’s focus through the program.
“We’re able to offer them a meal and it really helps with the cognitive ability and behaviors. This is one last thing they have to worry about. They can eat go home and play and just be kids and not have to worry about food,” Carty said.
Six of the seven schools in Baldwin County have access to the Evening Meals Program.
Nelson says dinners will be prepared at Oak Hill Middle School and staff will deliver the food to the schools.
The school district says they hope to expand the program to its Saturday School program, off-site after school programs, and the football team.