Free summer meals program for kids announced; SWHRA seeks volunteers

Another free meals for kids program is coming to Hardin County, this time through the Southwest Human Resource Agency of Tennessee.
It aims to continue feeding area kids through much of the summer and possibly beyond.
SWHRA Community Outreach Director Patti Pickler said Monday afternoon the program will begin providing free meals for children 18 years old and under beginning Tuesday, May 26. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Summer Food Service Program,” and will provide sack lunches similar to the meals provided by the school district’s emergency meals program while schools have been closed due to COVID-19.
Meals will be provided at three Hardin County Schools locations Monday-Friday. As of now, funding for the program is guaranteed through June 30, Pickler said. She added that she expects additional funding will be approved to carry the program through the end of July, and, if schools remain closed, it could possibly be extended through the end of September.
The program will only remain in effect so long as schools are closed, however, and further extensions are not guaranteed.
The locations and times to receive meals under the SHRA program are each weekday at:
•Northside Elementary, 10 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
•Parris South Elementary, 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
•Pickwick Southside School, noon – 1:30 p.m.
Parents are asked to remain in their cars when arriving at the school, and a meal packet will be brought to the car. There is no registration and the children do not have to be present, Pickler said.
Pickler said in the first days of the program, she is sending over 600 meals to Hardin County to be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. If those numbers are not sufficient, she said SHRA can increase the numbers of meals in following weeks.
She also said if any meal contains a nut product, a note will be placed inside the bag. Parents will children who have nut or other food allergies or issues should inspect the contents of each bag before letting your child consume them.
Pickler added that SHRA is seeking volunteers, “hopefully two per location, which would be ideal,” to help hand out meals or direct traffic. To volunteer, call Patti Pickler or Macy England at 800-497-1286
Hardin County’s participation was announced by Director of Schools Michael Davis and Supervisor of School Nutrition Cheryl Cochran just days before the emergency meals program through the school district is set to end on Friday, with the end of the school year.

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