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Schools maintain meals program
School is out for summer, but that does not stop Joycelene Harrell from ushering the children she baby-sits to the former Risley Early College Academy, or RECA, building for lunch.

More than 15 children crossed T Street in Brunswick like a string of baby ducks to participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Summer Food Service Program.

Without the USDA program, some of the children on summer vacation might not get breakfast or lunch, Harrell said.

"For some of the children, these are the only meals they may get in a day," she said.

Administered through the Glynn County School Systems culinary services department, the free summer food program serves more than 685 breakfasts and 1,100 lunches every day at designated schools and other certified locations in the county, according to the program's manager, Debbie Baker.

All meals are made at RECA and delivered by van to other locations, she said.

Demand for the service, which provides a free lunch to anyone under 18 years old, as well as to adults with disabilities participating in a school activity, has increased in recent years, Baker said.

"We have people who call every day to ask about it," she said.

The demand illustrates the program's importance, said Janet Mitchell, director of culinary services for Glynn County schools.

"There is such a need in the community that we just couldn't stop providing it," she said.

The school system is reimbursed $1.94 for every breakfast, $3.38 for every lunch or dinner and 80 cents for every snack served, according to the USDA.

"It really is a great program and it doesn't cost us any money locally," Mitchell said.

Free summer meals are offered at every school where more than 50 percent of the students receive free or reduced priced lunches during the school year, Mitchell said.

According to the Department of Education, those elementary schools are Altama, Burroughs-Mollette, Glyndale, Golden Isles, Goodyear, St. Simons and Sterling; Jane Macon and Needwood middle schools, Brunswick High School and the site of the former Risley Early College Academy.

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