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County summer food program kicks off today
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One of the things cited in the comprehensive plan for Effingham County was the limited amount of recreational outlets. The county-sponsored Summer Food Service Program may help address this need.

For several years now, the county has been coordinating the program in which children from age 1 to 18 may come and be fed a healthy lunch over the summer.

In addition, the children get to play games, enjoy presentations by local agencies such as the police department and interact with other children.

“I think it’s a great program,” said Margie Jones, a paraprofessional.

All of the ladies who participate work in the Effingham County school system. Many of them have been involved with the program for several years.

“We all deal with children, and we love children,” noted Julia Orr, a paraprofessional and a bus driver.

The program is held at three different sites throughout the county: Clyo Park from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.; Highland Park from 11 a.m. to noon; and Springfield Central Park from noon to 1 p.m.

All children are welcome to attend and parents are encouraged to come, as well.

For three years, Natalie Kent-Scott has served as the program director. She volunteered for the position after the former director, Ruby Andrews, left.

Her reasons for doing so all center around children.

“The program is very important for the kids in our community,” she said. “It’s all about the kids for me.”

Kent-Scott not only directs the Summer Food Service Program, but she is also a paraprofessional at Guyton Elementary School and is the site director for the after-school program there.

She explained that many of the kids who come are on free lunch throughout the school year. This program simply continues that service throughout the summer along with providing children with activities to participate in.

The ladies noted that many of the children probably would not get a lunch at all without the program. Orr admitted she isn’t sure some of the kids would get a meal at all.

About 30 to 65 children arrive for the free sack lunch and activities each day. Their lunch consists of a sandwich, fruit, vegetables and milk. While the program is geared toward children from low-income households, every child is welcome.

The summer food service program will be held until July 20. For more information contact Natalie Kent-Scott at 754-2123.