BEAUFORT COUNTY, N.C. (WNCT) — As schools let out for summer, officials across Beaufort County are making sure they implement ways for their students and other kids to get the nutrition they need.
They are now giving free meals to any child 18 and under, no matter if they are a student or not.
“That’s a huge thing for people to remember, anyone 18 and under can actually receive both a breakfast and a lunch from us,” said School Nutrition Director Joanne Kirven.
Kirven is giving insight on other reasons why programs like these are important.
“When you have a program that is open to everybody, it’s not just open to people that have to qualify by lack of funds at home, when it’s open to everybody it takes away any stigma associated with having to pick up food.”
Children will receive both a breakfast and a lunch each day from the program, which includes a hot meal for lunchtime. They have also teamed up with local suppliers to make sure they can provide fresh fruits and veggies for the kids.
“We are working closely with some of our local suppliers to ensure we can provide fresh fruit and vegetables for some of our children as well,” said Kirven.
She also notes that for anyone who may run into transportation issues, they have a plan.
“If you are out somewhere and unable to get food for whatever reason, we do need for people to put their hand up and give us a call at the school nutrition office in Washington so that we can make a plan to try and get some food out to people that may have a problem with transportation.”
She says her staff has been going non-stop since the start of the pandemic. Noting that everyone helping out is there to see these kids flourish.
“They’re local people, they care about the children, they care about families, these are their neighbors, their friends, and they come to work every single day to give from their heart with the job they do and you can’t put a price on that,” said Kirven.
The meal distribution takes place Monday through Thursday all summer long so children will receive a box with more shelf-stable items on Thursdays to hold them over through the weekends. They will receive more hot meals during the week.
Below is a list of times and locations where you can pick up your meals: