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Food that’s in when school is out

Free summer meals are provided at Roan Creek Elementary and many other locations around Johnson County.Photo Courtesy of Johnson County Student Nutrition Service.

Johnson County Nutrition Service provides free summer meals.

By Tamas Mondovics

To ensure students receive nutritionally balanced meals while out of school, Johnson County Student Nutrition Services program is once again offering several opportunities as it rolls out its summer food service program. As noted by the Tennessee Department of Human Services just as learning does not end when school lets out, neither does a child’s need for proper nutrition.

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) provides free, nutritious meals and snacks to help children get the nutrition they need to learn, play, and grow throughout the summer months when they are out of school.Through its moving meals “food vans” the program has been bringing food into communities for years, providing thousands of meals each season. The service is managed locally by School Nutrition director Kathy McCulloch, who oversees the program under the direction of the Johnson County Board Of Education, 211 N. Church St, in Mountain City.

The pair of delivery vans is operated by four volunteers, who will serve nutritious, hot and cold meals to the children up to age 18, at multiple locations. All meals are free and will be served each week, Monday through Friday beginning on Tuesday, May 29 through July 20, 2018. McCulloch explained that the purpose of the annual summer program is to ensure that children are well fed during the summer break.

“This is the only program that offers nutritious meals all week and all summer,” McCulloch said.

Last summer the program served an average of 250 meals each day, amounting to more than 15,000 meals over the summer months. The Tennessee Department of Human Services reported that 1 in 4 children face hunger every day in the state. Established by Congress in 1968, the SFSP serves to ensure that during school vacation, children 18 years or younger of low-income could receive the same high-quality meals provided during the school year by the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs.

The Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) administers the SFSP under an agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and in concert with community partners, known as Sponsors. The SFSP generally begins when school closes in late spring and continues until school opens for the fall term.
Special provisions are available for areas where schools operate on year-round schedules. For more information regarding the Summer Food Service Program, please contact Kathy McCulloch, at 423-727-2657.