Jeff Davis School Board summer food program begins Monday

Published 5:06 pm Sunday, June 16, 2024

More than 6,000 free meal kits are expected to be distributed in Jeff Davis Parish as part of a six weeks summer feeding program.

Beginning Monday, anyone 18 years or younger, can enjoy free breakfast and lunches as part of the federally funded summer feeding program offered by the Jeff Davis Parish School Board.

“The Jeff Davis Parish School Board Child Nutrition program is excited about our new endeavor this summer,” Child Nutrition Program Supervisor Tina Coleman said. “By providing for our communities, we are assisting parents and guardians in keeping kids fed in this difficult economic culture. We look forward to seeing our students as they come to pick up their meals.”

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Pre-packaged meal kits will be available for pick up 7 a.m.-noon every Monday starting June 17 until July 22 at the designated pick up locations.

School Board member Greg Patterson said 6,723 students are pre-registered for the program. Registration will be available at all pick up locations for those who have not registered.

Based on pre-registration, Patterson said 755 weekly meal kits are expected to be distributed in Elton, 225 in Fenton, 568 in Hathaway, 2,311 in Jennings, 788 in Lacassine, 1,081 in Lake Arthur and 988 in Welsh.  An additional 800 extra boxes will be available for those who did not pre-register.

In all, 7,560 boxes are anticipated to be distributed, according to Patterson.

“Those are some awesome numbers, if we can feed those students,” Patterson said. “The goal is to have 100 percent pick up.”

The boxes will include enough food to provide seven breakfasts and lunches based on USDA guidelines set for the program, according to Coleman.

The pre-packaged boxes will be distributed curbside from 7 a.m.-noon Mondays at designated pick up sites at Elton High, Fenton Elementary, Hathaway High, Jennings High, Lake Arthur Elementary and Welsh High schools.

There will be two pick up lines – one for those who pre-registered and one for unregistered participants. An ID will be required for any children not pre-registered.

If a parent or guardian cannot pick up at selected times and locations, an alternative pickup person must be listed as a designated person to receive meals on behalf of the children. Only listed individuals will be allowed to pick up meals, Coleman said.

If the registered child is not present for the actual meal box pick up, the person picking up must provide a picture identification to receive the meal.

Each child registered will receive one meal box per week.

Finance Director Christin LeGros said participants do not have to live in the parish or be enrolled in a parish school to receive a food box.

“If grandparents have their grandkids for the summer or they are babysitting that day, if the kids are with them they can have a box,” LeGros said. “The more boxes, the better.”

The boxes will contain named brand non-perishable food items including pop tarts, breakfast bars, milk drinks and boxed juices, tuna kits, chips, salsa and dips, crackers, nuts, packaged fruits and more.

“It may be slow this Monday, being the first one, but I think once the word gets out that there’s actually some pretty good stuff in there, I think we will do good after that,” Patterson said.

More information will be released on Sunday on the Jeff Davis Parish School Board’s Facebook page and website.