Summer feeding program: ‘We do it for the children’

Brenda Watford leads the troops again
Jun. 11, 2013 @ 05:36 PM

Thomasville City Schools' summer feeding program, an initiative that garnered national attention in 2011, is getting ready to start up again.

Beginning June 17, more than 1,400 Chair City children will have access to a free meal every weekday through Aug. 16 at more than 30 stops across Thomasville. Nearly 90 percent of TCS students receive either free or reduced lunch during the school year.

For many, according to TCS Child Nutrition Director Brenda Watford, the free lunch is the only meal they may have that day.

"We do it for the children," Watford said. "Every child deserves to have a nutritious meal every day and we want to provide them that. When kids are out for the summer, and their parents are at work, they may not have anything to eat during the day. We want to reach as many hungry children as we can."

A free lunch is served during the week at Thomasville High School and Liberty Drive Elementary from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to any child 18 years or younger. The summer feeding program also extends into the community with 40 stops at varying times and locations. The addition of a fourth van last summer expanded the program to include 10 more stops and an additional 200 children. TCS implemented the van routes in 2010.

A staff of 20 prepares the meals every morning. 

"Just seeing their faces when we pull up in the van makes it all worth it," said Watford. "They're so excited to see us."

CBS Evening News featured Watford and the program two years ago, earning producer Nicole Young an Outstanding Hard News Feature award for her piece "Hunger: Woman Tries to Fight U.S. Child Hunger." Watford and TCS Superintendent Keith Tobin attended the annual Gracie Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif., on May 22, 2012.

"This is something we are very proud of," Tobin said. "These people truly care about the children of Thomasville. They're up every morning cooking these meals and they do it because they care."

The program is federally funded through a USDA grant that reimburses TCS for every meal served. A table and umbrella will be set up at each stop along the van route. No meals will be served on July 4.

Van routes will be at bus route locations during the school year.

For more information, call Watford at 474-4219.    

  

 

Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or duke@tvilletimes.com.

 

Stops include the following:

118 Desmond Court

Douglas Drive and Cohen

908 Trinity St.

East Guilford & Cates Avenue

Hinkle & Fisher Ferry

June & Reid

Cox Avenue & Morton

South Street

205 Arthur Drive

Polk Street & Cole Street

Fisher Ferry & Colonial Drive

Culbreth Avenue & Griffin

High Street

Walker Street

Church Street & Highland

40 Hunter St.

213 Polk St. & Dillon

Cox & Fife Street

11 Pine St.

Thompson & Cole

Morton & Maple

Tremont & Fairway Avenue

Koontz & Goforth

Worrell & Pine Street

King Row Park

Culbreth Avenue & Brewer

Leonard Street & Memorial Park Drive

Church Street & Forsyth

Davidson & Long Street

Pineywood Court

302 Culbreth

317 Winston St.

417 Doak St.

110 Brown St.

Barnwell & Afton

Barnwell & John

110 Carr St.

215 W. Colonial St.

321 W. Main St.