Nonprofits and schools to manage summer food programs

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Both Governors Brian Kemp and Henry McMaster have opted their respective states out of a federal program designed to help provide food to kids who won’t have access to school lunches during the summer.

“In today’s society, 40 dollars is big. Right now, you can’t even go to the grocery store and get one pack of meat under 20 dollars. So, you imagine if you have a family of six and five kids and those extra 40 dollars help to buy extra milk or bread and cereal, and them not having that now is definitely going to be traumatic…,” Masters Table Soup Kitchen, Kitchen Manager Ladonna Doleman said.

That 40-dollars she’s referring to is the amount a federal U-S-D-A program would have provided eligible kids per month during the summer. But the governors of both Georgia and South Carolina have opted out of the program, saying it was left over from when kids had to learn remotely during the COVID -19 lockdowns. The say there are other programs in place to help feed those children.

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“It’s definitely going to be a struggle. I know down here at the Master’s Table Soup Kitchen; we usually see between 200 to 250 a month– during the summertime we see about 500. But, with Kemp opting out now to not do the EBT Snap for the summer, it’s definitely going to change the dynamic of numbers,” Doleman said.

Those numbers already increasing at the soup kitchen– due to high food prices–The director of Nutrition Services at Richmond County Schools says there are plans in place to help cover any kids who may miss out.

“Seamless summer program– that’s our summer feeding program, and we’ve been operating that for years. And so, this year as usual, they’re going to be opening sites up anywhere that there’s going to be a summer school program, as well as any camps,” Richmond County School System Director of Nutrition Services Cathy Johnson said.

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Schools and nonprofit organizations band together to help provide as many resources as possible. Even new ways to make meals more accessible.

“We like to recommend a certain new app that has come out the last few years that’s called “Food Finder,’ and it’s a wonderful app. It’s not just for this area it’s for anywhere in the United States, and you just put in your zipcode and it will pull up tons locations that offer meals,” Johnson said.

“Through Golden Harvest, we do back pack programs at some of the schools and some of the schools have a backpack program that send kids home with backpacks that have food in it, breakfast snacks, milk, cereal and juice, fresh fruit. So, hopefully those programs will be able to still benefit up until the end of the year…,” Doleman said.

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And even beyond the end of the school year, the effort to meet the needs of reducing child and family hunger within the CSRA will continue.

“We’re not just gonna stop at the end of June. There are gonna be those resources that are out there and we’re gonna help families connect where they need to be connected,” Johnson said.

Golden Harvest says there are many ways you can help by volunteering or donating. For more on how, or to find food assistance near you, visit Golden Harvest and RCSS.

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