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County schools to start providing food to students

Covington County schools announce plans to feed students through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) starting Monday, April 6.

“SFSP allows us to provide nutritious free meals to all children during school closure due to COVID-19,” said Carrie Patterson, the child nutrition coordinator of Covington County schools. “I am thankful we are allowed to offer these meals which are so important to a child’s good health.”

County schools are joining organizations and groups across the state to participate in an Alabama Department of Education child nutrition program: Summer Food Service Program.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the SFSP was established to ensure that children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session.

“Our school cafeterias and staff play a vital role in the development of student success,” said Randy McGlaun, principal of Red Level High School. “Regular nutritious meals are paramount for positive physical and social development.”

“I think that the school isn’t just where a child comes to learn,” said Max Whittaker, principal of Florala High School. “We’re a part of their lives and care about each and every one of them.”

The SFSP serves children and teens age 18 and younger and has meals available for people with disabilities who are over age 18 and participate in school programs for the mentally or physically disabled.

Covington County schools will run the program starting Monday, April 6, until the end of May. “There’s a possibility of it going into the summer,” said Whittaker.

Meals through Covington County schools will be provided, at a first-come, first-serve basis on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. at the following sites:

• Fleeta Jr. High School Cafeteria

• Florala High School Cafeteria

• Pleasant Home School Cafeteria

• Red Level High School Cafeteria

• Straughn Middle School Cafeteria

• W. S. Harlan School Cafeteria

All meals are to be picked up at the curb in the designated areas at each cafeteria location.

“On Monday, children can receive two breakfasts and two lunches and Wednesday, three breakfasts and three lunches,” said Whittaker.

“We are not sure about turnout numbers but will adjust them as we go depending on participation,” said Patterson. “We are hopeful there will be a very good turnout.”

“Our hopes are to have as many families as possible to take advantage of this program,” said McGlaun.

“All children 18 or under will be fed free and do not have to attend the school they receive a meal from,” said Patterson.

“This is a continuation of the school year service and isn’t part of the normal program that usually takes place in the summer,” said Whittaker.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, there are no eligibility requirements.