Summer feeding program: Appetites don't go on vacation

It's like summer school for the stomach.

Children who receive free or reduced cost lunches during the school year will still have the opportunity to receive meals through the summer feeding program.

This year's summer feeding program will run in Barnwell County from June 8 through July 31.

The program has 46 sites designated so far countywide where meals will be delivered.

Many of the distribution sites are at schools, churches, apartment complexes and other community gathering places. Also some homes are being designated as delivery spots too, said Jack Johnson, the food service director for both the Barnwell 45 and Blackville-Hilda school districts.

For people interested in establishing a feeding site, Johnson will have a meeting at 9 a.m., June 5 at Guinyard-Butler Middle School.

"People have been calling in. We would like about 15 to 20 children at each site," Johnson said. "Since we are so rural, we will deliver to home sites."

The summer feeding is open to children from kindergarten to 18 that participate in the free or reduced lunches during the school year, he said.

Generally, elementary school children are most served by the program, Johnson said.

"The big kids in the summertime are all over the place," he said.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Barnwell 45 school district food service department is managing the summer feeding program. The federal government reimburses each district that runs a program. No district money is used to operate the feeding, he said.

Last year the program had about 63 distribution sites and served about 72,000 lunches, Johnson said.

The summer feeding program is a U.S. Department of Agriculture program but is run through the S.C. Food Service Department under the S.C. Department of Education, he said.

The typical lunch includes a sandwich, juice, a snack followed by another juice and a snack the children can take home. The meal comes in a carton much like the children's meals served in fast food restaurants with games and puzzles on it, Johnson said.

"It's more of a prepackaged thing because it's hot (weather). We had sanitation issues we had to be concerned with," he said.

Johnson said deliveries are made from three trucks running routes. Deliveries are between 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. The first week is a little hectic as the drivers establish the routes and determine about what times they will arrive at individual sites.

"We work our way out from Guinyard-Butler Middle School. Most of it is delivered by 1 p.m.," he said. "By the end of the week, we've got the timing down. But if the weather is bad, we might be running behind."

Locations around Barnwell County that will be summer feeding sites so far include:

• Barnwell Arms apartment complex recreational building
• Camellia-Canna Streets: on Clinton Street
• Carokee Trailer Park, 155 Hiott St.
• Sweetwater area: 721 Patterson Mill Road
• Litchfield apartments recreational building
• Guinyard-Butler Middle School, 779 Allen St.
• Ramblewood #1: 12002 S.C. 64, Lot 53
• Ramblewood #2: 11922 Ramblewood Lot 2
• Red Oak area: 2950 Red Oak Road
• Jordan Baptist Church, 44 Jordan Road
• Barnwell Primary School, 734 Hagood Ave.
• Wingo area: 73 Wingo Estates Road
• Peachtree Gardens: 155 Elberta Circle
• Friendship area: 783 Zorn Drive
• 171 Debbie Lane
• Kline Fire Department
• Galilee community: 61 Pond Drive
• Snelling area: 136 Cherry Road
• 38 Washington St.

• Beaver Dam recreational building
• Hilda train depot platform
• Macedonia Elementary School, 556 Jones Bridge Road
• 20673 Solomon Blatt Avenue, North
• Hagood area: 957 Sunshine Road
• Legion Road
• 818 Hampton Apartments
• Blackville Gardens: 5519 Hilda Road
• 935 Walker St.
• 103 Zelma St.
• 336 Oak St.
• Main Street area: 387 Main St.
• 989 Jones Bridge Road
• 1419 Hampton St.
• U.S. 78 area: 10 Harward St.
• Sparrow Street area: 88 Sparrow St.

• St. Peter's Baptist Church: 7110 Bay St.
• Pleasant Hill area: 90 Mitchell Lane
• Great Cypress area: 2854 S.C. 37
• Lincoln Park recreational building
• Spann area: 67 Lisa St.
• Elko community: 91 E. Charleston St., Elko
• Cottonwood complex: 21 Cottonwood Circle, C-5
• 86 Alpine Circle
• 360 Sunnifield Drive
• 58 Poinsettia Court
• 137 Savage St.