Schools kick off Summer Feeding Program

Published 12:59 pm Saturday, June 8, 2024

By: Amy Lewis 

As summer approaches, Crenshaw County Schools are gearing up to provide meals to children under the age of 18 through the annual Summer Feeding Program. Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The initiative aims to combat food insecurity during the school break by offering free meals available at multiple locations throughout the county.

“The program is funded through the USDA. We are a rural area so we can offer food to anyone under 18 that comes through and it’s an open site,” explained Ruth Bayman, Child Nutrition Director for Crenshaw County Schools. “So, if someone is driving through, like on a trip, they can stop and come in and feed their children. And since it’s a non-congregate site, you don’t have to eat it here; you can take it with you.”

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The program operates daily, providing breakfast and lunch. Additionally, on Thursdays, the program offers multi-day meal packs, which include three days’ worth of breakfasts and lunches. 

“We have locations set up in Brantley, Highland Home, Luverne and also at the Dozier Town Hall. If no child is with you, there’s an online ticket form,” Bayman said. “You can go through and sign up and receive your tickets virtually. If you don’t have a computer to sign up, there will be someone on site that can help you do it while you’re there.”

Bayman emphasized the growth of the program since its inception and the need for more sites. 

“Last year, we did 950 consistently in the county for the multi-day bags, and we’re expecting more this year. This year we’re anticipating more like 1,000 to 1,300,” Bayman said. 

The program, part of a national school initiative, is entirely reimbursable by the USDA and managed by a small staff, including a child nutritionist, paras, aides, teachers, and student workers. During the school year, the program also provides breakfast, lunch, snacks, and supper.

Fran Hughes, the Crenshaw County child nutritionist involved with the Summer Feeding Program, highlighted the impact of the initiative. 

“I’ve been working on this for 10 years. The summer feeding is an excellent way for people to come and just get a free meal for their children,” Hughes said. “It’s a blessing to be able to provide this service. You never know, this may be the only meal that someone gets, so it’s really awesome to be able to provide it.”

Hughes emphasized what the program can mean, especially to low income families.

“Especially for low-income families, being able to provide assistance is truly a blessing,” Hughes continued. “And you can tell it’s making a difference. People are always so appreciative.”

Participation in the program allows children ages 18 and under to receive meals free of charge throughout the summer months until school starts in August. Students are eligible to receive these meals regardless of financial status.

For more information, to sign up or view menus, visit the Crenshaw County Schools website at or email