COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - For some children the only meal they have each day is the one they get in a school cafeteria. But during the summer, when school is out, where will they get a warm meal?
Thanks to government funding, the Cathedral of Prayer in Columbus is able to put a plate of food in front of hungry children in the Columbus area.
Center Coordinator Dr. Gloria Johnson-Rodgers explained, "We've fed the community since 1989, but this is something new that we are partnering with the U.S. Government to do. They are providing the food for the children 18 and younger and we are providing food for adults who may accompany them."
When you hear government and food in the same sentence, the best images don't come to mind. But the kids at this table have plenty to look forward to. Dr. Johnson-Rodgers said, "We're known for our food. We have the best cooks in the world. They do an awesome job. The kids were just talking about how good the food is. We have had people come from all over Columbus just to eat here."
Rajahda Washington said her favorite foods are chicken, collard greens, cornbread, mashed potatoes, and rolls. She and her sisters have been coming through the lunch line for a while now.
Iyonhi Washington told News Leader 9, "It means a lot. There is a lot of stress taken off our parents." Rajahda added, "We can come and have food and our parents don't have to worry about cooking, or struggling to get food or money to feed us."
At one point they were serving 200 meals per day. Dr. Johnson-Rodgers says everyone who takes a plate has a different story and they are happy to help them out, "Both parents had lost their jobs and they said they were doing the best they could. They had some food stamps but towards the end of the month they had run out and they told us this helped tremendously."
Jasmine Sutton also takes advantage of the program. She said, "Parents don't always have the money. Some parents have jobs where they work really late. You can't always get what you want right then. If you come here you can get it right off the bat."
Children under the age of 18 can get a free lunch at the Cathedral of Prayer.
The Muscogee County School District is also offering a free lunch program at certain schools in Columbus. Kids under the age of 18 can eat June 4 through July 27. Breakfast is served from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
For more information you can contact the School Nutrition Office at 706-748-2386.