Wesley Community Center feeds students as part of Summer Feeding - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Wesley Community Center feeds students as part of Summer Feeding Program

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

The Savannah-Chatham County Public School System said over the last three school years, the number of students in Chatham County on free and reduced lunches has increased by more than 1,600 students.

This is why parents said they are more grateful than ever to have a summer feeding program available to them when the students are not in school.

The Wesley Community Center is just one of the many sites across the state that participates in the Summer Feeding Program, and with so many students in the district qualifying for free and reduces lunches, the center said the program is vital.

Jawanna Kelly has three daughters in summer camp at the Wesley Community Center, and all three of them get breakfast, lunch and a snack during the day.

"Well, it means a lot to me," said Kelly. "That they're not going hungry, and they do have food for them to eat. And healthy food at that."

During the school year, Kelly's daughters are on the free and reduced lunch program, but now that school's out, she relies on Bright from the Start's Summer Food Service Program.

"So it really means a lot to me that I don't have to worry about where they're going to get their breakfast from at camp and where they're going to get their lunch from, because it's here and it's available," said Kelly. "So it's a help."

And the need in the community is growing. More than 65 percent of Chatham County students are on free and reduced lunches, a number that has increased by more than 1,600 students over the last three school years, so the fact that there's help when school is not in session is a major relief.

"The children are able to get breakfast, lunch and a snack daily," said Tammy Mixon with the Wesley Community Center. "Here at our summer camp and that Summer Feeding Program is so very important. Because many times some of the children that we serve, that is the last meal that they get until they come back the next day."

The Georgia Dept. of Early Care and Learning makes the Summer Food Service Program available to low income students 18 and under at meal sites across the state.

For families, it's a little bit of help that goes a long way.

The Summer Food Program lasts through the end of July in Savannah.

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