Summer feeding program open

Published 6:57 am Friday, June 3, 2016

School is out, but students can still get two free, nutritious meals at several sites around Bogalusa.

Lorene Randazzo, the district’s registered dietician and the supervisor for the child nutrition program, said students can pick up a free breakfast or lunch at St. Paul’s A.M.E. Church, Central Elementary School or the city’s high school.

The high school and the church began serving breakfasts and lunch June 1 and they will continue through July 15. The Central Elementary School program will wrap up June 30.

Breakfast is served from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and lunch is 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. There is no registration.

In addition to those locations, which are open to anyone under 18, the summer feeding program is providing meals to various Bible camps around the city.

Randazzo said the district’s summer feeding program can still work with other groups to open new sites.

“If there are other churches that are interested in having meals supplied to their Bible study classes they can come by the office and fill out an application and we can get permission from the state to serve them,” she said.

Randazzo said the program is an important summer staple for many children.

“There are huge incidents of childhood hunger and with the schools being closed you see more of that during the summer months,” Randazzo said.

Gladys Lampton, the food services director at St. Paul’s, said her church is serving lunches and dinners for the second year in a row through the program, and she said she’s happy to participate.

Lampton said her church had not hosted the program for more than two decades, until restarting it last year.

Gloria Kates, a Bogalusa City Council member and member of the church, said she remembers watching kids from the area walk to Bogalusa High School to get free lunch.

“The kids would walk from here to the high school for meals,” Kates said on Wednesday, the first day of the free lunch program. “Mrs. Lampton met with Elder (Rayfield) Palmer, the minister of the church, and … there was a meeting last year with the school board and everyone came together with a meeting of the minds and it started.”

Lampton said she is proud her church could help the neighborhood.

“It’s just wonderful for the church as a whole to accept the responsibility of feeding these children,” she said.

She added that some kids wouldn’t get a healthy meal if it weren’t for the program.

“The children sometimes don’t get nutritious meals during the summer months as they do during school months,” she said.

Lampton said if parents show up with their students, they can eat, too, though they will have to pay. Breakfast is $2 and lunch is $4.

St. Paul’s is located at 420 Church St. The Bogalusa High School is located at 100 M.J. Israel Drive off of Avenue B and Central Elementary School is located at 1420 Spartans Ave.

If anyone would like to know more about the program or would like to apply to host the program, call Randazzo at 985-281-2100 or 985-281-2124.