Seamless Summer Feeds Low Income School Children All Summer Long

For far too many Georgia children participating in the federal Free Lunch program is the only way they are able to afford school lunches during the school year. But have you ever wondered what happens to those children when school is out?

Well, for lucky Georgia children in more than 100 school districts, school lunch continues like business as usual because their districts participate in the Seamless Summer program.

With Seamless Summer, children can have access to school meals while at summer school or summer camp, and sometimes, they even have access to meals if they are not attending summer school. That’s the case in Fulton County, where children 18 and under can just pop into one of 15 summer school locations and eat a school lunch with no questions asked.

“This helps them to stay healthy so they can come back to the school ready to learn,” said Susan Hale, a Fulton County Schools spokeswoman.

Some school districts recognize that low income children can’t always make it to school for their free meal. So instead, they serve free lunches as the Walton Village apartments.

The Seamless Summer program fills an all too real need among Georgia students. According to information gleaned from the Georgia Census, about 18% of Georgia children under 18 live in poverty. To put that in perspective, that’s almost 1 in 5. For some children, a summer school lunch could quite possibly be their only nutritious meal of the day. And hunger over the summer has been shown to have detrimental effects when it comes to returning to school in the Fall.

While 100 school districts (including military schools) around the state offer the programs, only Metro Atlanta districts located in Fulton, Clayton, Cherokee, DeKalb, Douglas and Marietta are in on Seamless Summer.

The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which reimburses schools for meal expenses incurred when operating summer school lunch programs.

Facts on Seamless Summer Meals (courtesy of the Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Seamless Summer meals served statewide in 2008:

• 1.38 million breakfasts

• 2.27 million lunches

• 247,636 snacks

• Seamless Summer meals served in metro Atlanta’s participating districts: 61, 262

• Current Seamless Summer participants: 2,038

It’s an economically stressful time right now and some families are worrying not just about the mortgage but about putting food on the table. If you or a family you know could benefit from one of Georgia’s Seamless Summer programs, or if you simply wish to bring Seamless Summer to your area, please visit the USDA’s summer school lunch programs website or contact the state nutrition office at 404-651-9085 for more information.