Berkeley Co. Schools’ summer feeding program serves growing number of hungry students

VIDEO: Berkeley Co. Schools’ summer feeding program serves growing number of hungry students

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Berkeley County School District officials say they’ve seen the participation in their summer feeding program grow over the years, but they’ve been faced with challenges for plans to address this need.

“The first week of summer feeding we fed around 5,000 breakfasts and around 10,000 lunches, and that’s pretty much half of what we feed during the school year,” said Benita Smith, with Berkeley County Child Nutrition Services. “Many of our children don’t have access to hot meals during the summer. A lot of parents work and are not at home with them, and this gives a chance to be able to come to a summer feeding site whether it be the school or a community location to have hot meals provided.”

However, a project that could have offered even more access to this hot commodity was interrupted.

“It would be basically a mobile food truck. We wanted to pull up to their community, even have music playing on the bus,” said Paul Hart, with Berkeley County Child Nutrition Services. “That would draw them out of their houses to meet us at a centralized location. They come up to the window and we hand them a bag lunch.”

Construction issues and unexpected costs derailed the plan leaving officials feeling disappointed.

“Those rural locations that they just can’t make it into town, that’s where we are sort of lacking with our program,” Hart said. “We’re hoping eventually we will get to that point we can service those students.”

Despite the challenges, officials say they can prepare and deliver hot meals for 38 off-site locations, feeding thousands of Berkeley County children for free during the summer months.

“We pride ourselves on giving our children the very best,” Smith said.

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