County, school system will provide free summer meals for children

JONESBORO — Clayton County children who rely on free or reduced price school breakfasts and lunches for two meals a day during a school year will have a meal option this summer.

Eighty percent of the children enrolled in the county’s school system receive free or reduced cost lunches, Parks and Recreation Director Detrick Stanford wrote in a request to commissioners. Stanford was seeking permission to provide free breakfasts and lunches for children over the summer.

“[This is] requesting Board of Commissioners consideration of a partnership [between] the Parks and Recreation Department and Clayton County Public Schools Department of Nutrition Services to provide breakfast and lunch to the campers enrolled in the Parks and Recreation Summer Camp Program,” Stanford wrote in the request.

“The four recreation centers and the following four parks — Independence Park, Panhandle Park, International Park and Flat Shoals Park — will also serve as open sites where the children in the community can come and receive meals,” he added.

The request gained the commission’s blessing, which means meals would be provided for children June 2 through July 25. Cold lunches would be provided Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays while hot lunches would be provided Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Staff from the school system’s nutrition department would serve the meals, according to county documents.

The county will be able to provide the food through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s summer food service program. School food authorities are allowed to sponsor non-school sites for the program, the county documents show.

Funding for the summer food service program comes from the USDA, according to the agreement between the county and the school system.