COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - People say there is no such thing as a free lunch, but the Muscogee County School District if proving that wrong by providing every kid a meal this summer.
"It implements breakfast as well as lunch and we also give snacks in the afternoon. It's a great way to continue nutrition education," explained Martin Luther King Elementary School's Cafeteria Manager Sarah Campbell.
Funding for the "Summer Feeding Program" comes from the national feed the children organization, so residents won't be footing the bill, but the gift is priceless to the kids.
Marian Bone, the School Nutrition Director said, "They might not have otherwise been given a nutritious meal. A lot of times they get what's quick and easy and sometimes it's not the most nutritious."
Kiana Walker is taking advantage of the program. She told News Leader Nine, "I think it's nice because they might be hungry and they'll like it so they can have somewhere to go it they need food."
Last year the program served approximately 128,000 meals. Even summer camps and youth groups are taking advantage of the meals. Shakeithaya Porter brought a group from Girls Inc., "It's much easier and guarantees everyone gets a hot meal because nine times out of ten all kids don't eat so it's necessary they get proper nutrition."
Plus Campbell says the kids love what's on the menu, "When are we having chicken? We're having hamburgers! When are we having hot dogs? They look forward to the delicious meals we put together in the nutrition department."
"We feel very blessed that we're able to provide this service for our community," added Bone.
The 22 schools are offering breakfast from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to any child under the age of 18.
If any adults would like to take advantage of the Summer Feeding Program, they can pay at the locations $1.50 for breakfast and $3 for lunch.
To get more information on the program or to sign up your group, you can call the School Nutrition Department at (706)748-2386.
The participating schools are as follows:
Arnold Middle School
Carver High School at Baker Middle
Cusseta Road Elementary
J. D. Davis Elementary
Double Churches Elementary
East Columbus Magnet
Eastway Elementary/Lonnie Jackson Academy
Forrest Road Elementary
Martin Luther King Elementary
South Columbus Elementary
St. Mary's Elementary