Valdosta Daily Times

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February 23, 2014

Free meals for children offered during summer break

VALDOSTA — Monday, the Georgia Department of Education School Nutrition Program announced they will provide free meals to children during the summer break as part of the Seamless Summer Option.

The Seamless Summer Option is a program that allows any child under the age of 18 to receive free meals at any pre-approved location.

Lowndes County Schools are in charge of the Seamless Summer program for Lowndes County.

"We will again host the program in our system.  However, the key phrase in the press release is in the second sentence, which states..... preapproved locations throughout the state.  This means that sites such as Vacation Bible Schools, summer youth activity programs, summer migrant programs, and the like must apply to become approved service sites.  Once that is done we must certify them as approved sites before any meals are served," said Sharon Flythe, Director of School Nutrition for Lowndes County.

The application process to become an approved location will be posted on the system website, www.lowndes.k12.ga.us, and in The Times in April.

Any group wishing to apply to become a host site must follow the application process and attend the mandatory training process.

The state of Georgia serves more than .5 million breakfasts and 1.1 million lunches every day during the school year.

According to the GaDOE, "More than 77 percent of these meals are provided at a free or reduced price through the School Breakfast Program and National School Lunch Program. Currently, Georgia ranks first in both breakfast and lunch participation levels for states with more than 1 million students. Compared to all states, Georgia ranks in the top five."

For some children, the meals they receive at school during the academic year will be the only meals they eat all day. The Seamless Summer Option allows schools to continue addressing that need despite school not being in session.

For more information on the Seamless Summer Option, please contact Flythe at (229)245-2443 or email her at sharonflythe@lowndes.k12.ga.us.

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