1st free summer meal program sees success, will end on July 29

Cullman City Schools

CULLMAN – The first free summer meal program, provided by the Cullman City Schools Child Nutrition Program, was deemed a great success during the month of June yet has not been as busy during July. Providing free meals to all children aged 18 and under, the program began on June 1 at West Elementary School on Rosemont Drive and Highway 278 in Cullman.

Cullman City Schools Child Nutrition Program Assistant Director Terri Abbott stated, “On the highest day that we served in June, we served 750 kids. The month of July has tapered off quite a bit because summer camps and activities are winding down. We’re still open serving two meals a day through July 29.

“We had some of the kids from the county that came to eat with us that we got to know,” continued Abbott. “There were several summer camps and foster families and we had football teams who would come before and after workouts. It was just a variety all summer long.”

While the free summer meal program was made possible through a federal FDA program facilitated by the State of Alabama, Abbott has relied heavily on her team of volunteers this summer, a team mostly made up of high schoolers from around the county.

“We had mainly volunteers who were students needing community hours to go toward their graduation. We had a very good group of high schoolers to volunteer with us. This is the first year and was a trial run. We’ve learned some things along the way and learned how to do some things better and more efficiently.”

The goal is to keep the program alive and viable for next summer which requires the community’s help, says Abbott.

“We are hoping and praying we’ll have the program again next summer. Our goal is to feed the kids, and if there’s any way possible, we will be back next year. I’m hoping to do more outreach to more churches and subdivisions and have us actually take the meals to those places next year.”

To keep the program going, Abbott needs as many families and children as possible to show up to eat over the next week and a half.

“We are going to be here until July 29, and the more kids we can feed in the last couple of weeks of the program, the better the chances we can have it back next year to keep all of the children in Cullman fed.”