THOMASVILLE, Ga. — Many schools in south Georgia are out for the summer, though that means that some children may not be getting the food they need to stay healthy.
South Georgia has the highest rate of food insecurity among children in the Peach state. During the year, many children eat breakfast and lunch at school, food that they otherwise may not have had.
"That's where programs like Second Harvest's Kid's Cafe program come in. It started out as simply an after school program. We've been doing a true dedicated summer feeding program for the last three years," said Eliza McCall, Chief Marketing Officer for Second Harvest of South Georgia.
The meals are nutritious, offering fruit, vegetables, milk and either a hot entree, like chicken strips, or a ham sandwich. And these meals are served at dozens of locations through the south Georgia region.
One Kid's Cafe location is at the Thomasville Community Resource Center, where enrolled students can have breakfast, lunch, and even dinner.
"A lot of times parents say that by the time they pick their kid up at 5:30, they're able to actually go home and spend time with their child because their child has played," said Courtney O'Neal, Program Manager at Thomasville Community Resource Center. "They've gotten some extra curricular activities, some enrichment activities, as well as dinner on top of that."
Although the Thomasville Community Resource Center requires that students be enrolled in order to receive the Kid's Cafe meals, there are plenty of other sites in Thomas County and south Georgia that offer the same quality food to those in need.
"Any kid can show up. Any kid can eat. We don't need any sort of proof of income," said McCall. "We don't need ID. If a child comes up to one of our feeding locations, that child will be fed."
It's estimated that the Kids Cafe summer feeding program will provide about 200,000 meals this summer across southwest Georgia.
The USDA has a list of summer food service programs. To see that list, click here.