Community Services gears up for 20th year of Summer Feeding program
by Special to the Banner
Apr 06, 2014 | 672 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print

During the summer, far too many families struggle to provide their children with nutritious meals when schools close.

For this reason, Bradley Cleveland Community Services Agency will offer the Summer Food Service Program for its 20th consecutive year.

Since it is less than two months from the end of the current school year, staff at the agency have initiated an outreach campaign via letters, phone calls and face-to-face meetings to recruit old and new participants.

The Summer Food Service Program provides free, nutritious meals and snacks to help children in low-income areas get the nutrition they need to learn, play, and grow throughout the summer months.

Children who miss breakfast and lunch are more likely to be sick, disruptive and inattentive.

Summer Feeding provides an opportunity to continue a child’s physical and social development while providing nutritious meals during long vacation periods from school and helps children return to school ready to learn.

Bradley Cleveland Community Services Agency encourages participation from churches, schools, camps and organizations.

“Child nutrition should be a priority for everyone. Our hope is that access to more eligible children will be available through new site participation this year,” said program coordinator Jackie Westfield.

Executive Director Demetrius Ramsey added, “Our goal is to reach churches, organizations and schools” that haven’t participated in the program during the last 20 years. Now is the time for us to build new partnerships so we can meet as many needs as possible.”

Westfield continued, “Churches are welcome to use this program to feed youth in their vacation Bible schools, Bible studies and other summer programs. Athletic programs and summer camps are also welcome to participate.”

If you are interested in this program but don’t understand the expectations or the benefits, give the agency a call. Most questions about hosting a site will be answered during training at Bradley Cleveland Community Services Agency. The training will also cover how to supervise activities and the meal service, keep daily records of meals served, store food appropriately, and keep the site clean and sanitary.

Bradley Cleveland Community Services Agency offers breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack or supper to sites, according to the needs of each respective program.

Last summer, Bradley Cleveland Community Services Agency provided meals to more than 52 approved sites in the local area.

Bradley Cleveland Community Services Agency averaged more than 1,300 meals daily during the months of June and July 2013.

The United States Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service administers the Summer Food Service Program at the national level and the Tennessee Department of Human Services administers it at the state level.

All sites must agree to serve meals to any eligible child in accordance with Federal Law and USDA policy, prohibiting discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.

Potential new sites may obtain a paper application and additional information by contacting Jackie Westfield or Ana O’Neal at 155 6th St. S.E., Cleveland TN, or by calling 479-4111.