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School district to distribute 1,500 free meals to children this summer

By Kylie Cordell For Clay Today
Posted 5/25/23

CLAY COUNTY – Clay County District Schools, led by Food and Nutrition Services Director Susie Glover, plans to connect children throughout the county with hundreds of free meals this summer. The …

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School district to distribute 1,500 free meals to children this summer


Posted

CLAY COUNTY – Clay County District Schools, led by Food and Nutrition Services Director Susie Glover, plans to connect children throughout the county with hundreds of free meals this summer. The program will fill the nutrition gap for eight weeks during the summer break.

“Obviously, hunger doesn’t stop when the school year ends, so we try to reach out and provide as many meals to children as we can,” Glover said.

Meal distributions will start on Wednesday, June 5, and end on Friday, July 21, at select locations. Breakfast will be served from 8-9 a.m., while lunch will be served from noon-1 p.m. The district said sites are subject to close based on location.

The sites are:

• Charles E. Bennett Elementary

June 5 – July 21

1 S. Oakridge Ave., Green Cove Springs.

• Doctors Inlet Elementary School

June 1 – July 21

2634 County Rd 220, Middleburg.

• Keystone Heights Junior/Senior High.

June 5 – July 21

900 S.W. Orchid Ave., Keystone Heights.

• Montclair Elementary

June 5 – July 21

2398 Moody Ave, Orange Park.

• McRae Elementary

June 5 – July 21

6770 County Road 315-C, Keystone Heights.

• S. Bryan Jennings Elementary

June 5 – July 21

215 Corona Dr., Orange Park.

• Plantation Oaks Elementary

June 5 – July 21

4150 Plantation Oaks Blvd., Oakleaf

• Middleburg Elementary

June 5 – July 21

3958 Main St., Middleburg.

• The Filling Station, Clay County Library (lunch only)

June 5 – July 20

Noon- 1 p.m.

• Middleburg/Clay Hill Library (Monday and Wednesday)

2245 Aster Ave., Middleburg.

• Orange Park Library (Thursday and Friday)

2054 Plainfield Ave., Orange Park.

Meal Service will be inside the cafeteria for on-site consumption. Anyone 18 or younger may receive breakfast and lunch at no charge and with no application process.

“We have all our schools opening on June 5 except for one. Doctors Inlet will start on June 1. They will operate through July 31st. That location is a little bit different from our other schools,” Glover said. “We are also collaborating with Clay County Libraries, so our Food Truck will be at our Middleburg and Orange Park Locations for lunch only.”

Meals won’t be available on July 3-4 in observance of Independence Day.

Glover estimates approximately 1,500 free meals will be served based on current trends and dependent on on-site camps.

“We currently have 43% students on free lunch, 6% reduced lunch and 51% are full pay,” she said.

Glover encourages parents to complete a free or reduced lunch application if eligible. Children attending a Community Eligibility Provision school will not need to fill out a Free and Reduced Application. Each CEP school will provide breakfast and lunch free of charge with no application process. To find out more, go to fns.myoneclay.net/meal-applications.

“We are also continuing to provide community resources and intentionally expand the Community Eligibility Provisions Program so we can provide as many students with free lunch as possible,” she said.

In addition, Clay County School District has three UCF-certified Community Partnership Schools. The program provides tutoring, hygienic products, help with food hardships and access to medical care and a clothes closet for students.

“We do have a community partnership model with three of our schools – at Orange Park High, Keystone Heights Junior/Senior High and Wilkinson Junior High. And what those community partners do is run food distributions as well. Those are typically volunteer-run,” said Clay County Schools Communication and Media Partners Supervisor Terri Dennis. “It is open to the first 80 families that come through.”

Every third Thursday during the next eight months, families in Clay County can pick up fresh produce, meat, milk and other food items for free from 5-6:30 p.m. at selected Community Partnership Schools.

“We have our digital newsletter through Peachjar as well, so whenever a community partner is doing a food drive or distribution event that is free to the community, they will reach out to us, and we will share their flier through the newsletter,” Dennis said.

For questions about Peachjar, please contact your child’s school. For a list of food pantries, go to www.foodpantries.org/co/fl-clay.