• 88°

Programs provide meals for students during summer

6-26 Feeding program pic WEB

Getting a quality education is the main focus at most any school but there are other components to the school day that help each child grow and succeed, one of which is the child nutrition program.

While students are being fed mentally by their teachers each day, it is the job of the child nutrition program (CNP) workers to make sure each child is fed a nutritious breakfast and lunch, one that will help them get though the day and help them maintain a healthy lifestyle overall.

Elaine Vaughn, the CNP director for Russellville City Schools, said school meals are vitally important because that is sometimes the only balanced meal some of the students have access to during the day.

According to research conducted through the national non-profit organization WhyHunger, in 2011, over 49 million Americans lived in food insecure households, which means a household that has limited or uncertain access to nutritious, safe foods that are necessary to lead a healthy lifestyle. Of that number, 16.7 million were children.

In Alabama, the number of food insecure households is above the U.S. average, which means the number of children locally who go without a nutritious meal on a daily basis is, n average, higher than normal.

“With the economy the way it has been for several years now, we have students who simply don’t get the recommended amounts of healthy, nutritious food that they should at home,” Vaughn said.

“Knowing this, we take our jobs very seriously when it comes to making sure each student is well-fed and receives a balanced meal each day when they are at school.”

But what happens when school lets out for the summer and students no longer have access to school breakfasts and lunches?


In the Russellville City and Franklin County school systems, the Seamless Summer Feeding Program is being utilized, which provides breakfast and lunch on Monday – Friday.

These meals are provided completely free of charge to any child who is 18 years old or younger.

In Franklin County, the meals are served at the Belgreen High School cafeteria through June 28 and at the Phil Campbell, Tharptown and Red Bay cafeterias through August 2. Breakfast is served from 7:30a.m. – 10 a.m. and lunch is served from 10:15 a.m. until 12 p.m.

In Russellville, meals are served out of the Russellville Elementary School cafeteria through August 2. Breakfast is served from 7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. and lunch is served from 11:15 a.m. – 11:54 a.m.

“We’ve had an overwhelming response to the program this year,” RES cafeteria manager Jo Ann Pearson said.

Pearson said they feed students who are participating in the summer T.R.A.C.K.S. program, football practices, volleyball practices, basketball practices and camps, band practices and camps, and any walk-ins who just come in for the free meal.

“The children really seem to love it,” Pearson said. “And it’s good for us to know that they are getting a good meal while they are out for the summer and participating in these different activities.”

The Russellville City School System also serves as the food vendor for city of Russellville’s summer feeding program that is overseen by the Russellville Parks and Rec Department.

The program is part of the National School Lunch Program’s Summer Food Service Program, which is administered locally by the Alabama Department of Education’s Child Nutrition Program.

In Russellville, four sites have been set up to provide free breakfast and lunch on Monday – Friday for any child who is 18 years old or under. Those sites include the Ralph C. Bishop Community Center, the Chucky Mullins Community Center, Eastside Apartments, Westside Apartments, and the Town and Country Trailer Park/Russell DeVilla.

“We had a summer feeding program in the city for the past 10 years because we saw there was a need for something like this during the months when the kids were out of school,” Russellville Park and Rec director Chad Sears said.

“We pick all the food up from the elementary school and deliver it to these five sites to make sure all the children there are getting a good meal each day.”

Sears said the feeding program also attract many kids to the two different community centers where they can participate in activities and stay active during the summer.

“Instead of just sitting at home in front of the TV, these kids can come out and get a free breakfast and lunch and then they can play games and hang out with other kids.”

Sears said they have counselors available at the rec centers who can help with educational programs and tutoring.

“It’s a win-win situation, so I just encourage all kids who are 18 or younger to come out and participate in one of these feeding programs this summer.”


Feeding Program locations:


Franklin County Schools:

• Belgreen High School

14220 Highway 187

Russellville, AL 35653

• Phil Campbell High School

65 School Street

Phil Campbell, AL 35581

• Red Bay High School

800 8th Street

Red Bay, AL 35582

•Tharptown High School

255 Highway 80

Russellville, AL 35654


Russellville City Schools:

• Russellville Elementary School

133 Chucky Mullins Drive

Russellville, AL 35653


City of Russellville

• Chucky Mullins Center

403 Hamilton Street

Russellville, AL 35653

• Eastside Apartment Complex

100 Eastside Plaza

Russellville, AL 35653

• Westside Apartment Complex

100 Westside Plaza

Russellville, AL 35653

• Ralph C. Bishop Community Center

201 Ash Avenue

Russellville, AL 35653

• Town & Country Trailer Park

100 Town & Country Trailer Court

Russellville, AL 35654