EBR summer feeding program expands

Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Usually, the only sound you may hear at a library is the occasional alert that someone as checked out a book or the sound of a child softly reading to himself.

But until the school year begins you might also hear the slurping of chocolate milk.

This combination of food and reading is due to the expansion of the East Baton Rouge School District's Child Nutrition Program, Summer Meals. Although this summer feeding program has been around for decades, the district realized the kids in need of healthy meals stretched far beyond the school cafeteria.

"There is a gap during the summer months. During the school year, East Baton Rouge Parish feeds the children, free of charge. During the summer months, it becomes a burden to feed a child all day and that's an extra expense," said Assistant Coordinator, Sandra Baptiste.

The program is open to every family, completely free. Program Coordinator, Felicia Barnes said nearly 200,000 lunches are served during the summer.

"All you have to do is be 18 years old and show up at one of our sites during meal service time. It levels that playing field. It brings everyone to the same level. Hunger knows no income, hunger knows no dollar amount. Hunger doesn't know that," added Baptiste.

From now until the start of school, every Tuesday and Thursday at the EBR Jones Creek Library, when kids take a break from story time, a well-balanced lunch is served.

Frequent library visitors, LaToya Paul and her kids devote several hours a day to reading, so grabbing a sack lunch is helpful.

"Over the summer, it helps out a whole lot. I cook meals all the time. I cook every day for my family, but because we're on the go, doing summer activities, that's just an awesome opportunity to be able to feed them and not stress about bringing food," said Paul.

Mother of two, Adele Kleinpeter, said she recently found out about the program during one of her family's trips to the library.

"A lot of times it can get expensive during the summer. I'm off so if you're trying to go eat out and do anything it can get expensive and so this was a nice free meal for the kids."

With reading being the cornerstone of education, what better way to encourage studying during the summer, than by offering food?

The summer feeding program ends July 28th.

To find out if the program will be serving a meal near you, call 225-226-3768.

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