ELIZABETHTOWN — The Bladen County School system School Nutrition Department kicked-off its Summer Feeding Program earlier this month at Bladen Lakes Primary and East Arcadia schools through Friday — last week adding sites at Bladenboro Middle, Elizabethtown Primary and West Bladen High schools through Aug. 3.
The sites are open for breakfast from 8 to 9 a.m. and for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The district serves more than 10,000 free breakfast and 12,000 free lunch meals during the Summer Feeding Program and is funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Summer Food Service program. Federal funds are provided to agencies including local boards of education to help feed hungry children during the summer.
Bladen County School system is reimbursed for the cost of the meals served to eligible children.
While all students in the Bladen County School system receive breakfast and lunch daily at no-cost, those meals end when school breaks for the summer. The lack of nutrition during the summer months can result in poor performance once the school year begins and makes children more prone to illnesses and other health issues. The Summer Feeding program is designed to fill that nutrition gap and make sure children can get the nutritious meals they need. All children under the age of 18 are eligible to receive a free meal.
Additionally, the school nutrition department can provide free summer meals for local camps, church programs and vacation bible schools, athletic programs and other summer activities that include children living in Bladen County.
Valerie Newton is the public information officer for Bladen County Schools.