Community locations provide free school meals through summer


By Ben Williams, The Franklin News-Post

Many children rely on school meals, but when the summer arrives, those meals can disappear. However, thanks to a USDA grant, several locations throughout Franklin County and other surrounding areas are continuing to offer free school meals throughout the summer.

One such location participating in the Free Summer Meals/No Kid Hungry program is Antioch Church of the Brethren in Rocky Mount. Jan Mohler, education facilitator for the church, said that in years past, the federal grant program would help provide free summer meals at all the different elementary schools in Franklin County.

“This year, the county only had summer school at Rocky Mount Elementary,” Mohler said. “Heather Snead (Coordinator of School Food Service/Nutrition for Franklin County Public Schools) felt concerned that there would be children that lived in the farther-out towns that wouldn’t have access to the food, because it would just be too far to take the children.”

According to Mohler, Snead spread the word that if any churches or organizations throughout the county wished to host meals, the school system would provide the food.

The plan was a success, Mohler said, and a variety of locations volunteered to host the meals, including not only schools and churches, but even a Rocky Mount apartment complex.

Different locations offer meals on different days and times of the week, Mohler said. Antioch offers free summer lunches on Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and will continue to do so through Aug. 2.

Any child in the county can go to any of the sites, she added, and calling ahead isn’t necessary.

“They can just come,” Mohler said. “There’s no registration. I simply check off how many children have shown up, but I don’t need to know who they are. The grant is for all children ages 2-18. That’s the only requirement.”

To find out the nearest location that is participating in the program, simply text the word “food” to 877-877 and enter the nearest zip code when prompted, or visit www.nokidhungry.org.

See full coverage here.