“We helped a lot of people,” Herod Village Board President Elbert Dawson said. “We worked with Briggs Learning Center and Second Harvest Food Bank. It just got really expensive for our organization. We had to set up the kitchen and set up utilities.
“We just couldn’t afford it the way it was done last year.”
In preparation for this summer, Herod Village teamed with the Department of Education to ensure the program would continue.
“It was paperwork intensive,” Dawson said. “But it was worth it.”
Worth the effort to the point of helping nearly 2,500 children and adults receive the proper nutritional value from their meals, including breakfast and lunch, by the time the program ends on Friday. The program will remain open today and Friday. Breakfast is served from 7:15 a.m. to 9 a.m., with lunch offered from 11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
“The meals meet the nutritional guidelines set by the federal government,” Dawson said. “It also has to meet portion size.
“This is to ensure that the kids are receiving the same nutritional values they would during the school year.”
That is the key reason for the program, as well as why the Department of Education took part.
“The Department of Education says that a lot of kids,” Dawson said, “don’t come back to school ready because they are malnourished. It’s not that their parents don’t feed them. They just don’t get the proper nutrition during the summer.”
Dawson said he took a training course with the Department of Education that showed him the importance of proper nutrition during the summer break.
“The training I took explained that it takes a couple of weeks for them to get their systems back on track,” Dawson said. “They do better with grades and things like that. We were made aware of all of that information.”
Dawson said he hopes Herod Village’s relationship with the state lasts for years to come.
“We came out pretty good on our reviews,” Dawson said. “We would also like to expand our program. We have the potential to do so. We would like to try to put some more people to work.”
Herod Village had a small group of workers, including four who work directly with the food, this summer. Those who dealt in food preparation passed proper certifications, according to Dawson.
“The ones we have now were working for just pennies,” Dawson said. “At the end of the program, if all of the bills are paid, we will try to give them a little more. A lot of them are really volunteers.”
Dawson said volunteers are welcomed for next summer, as well as other programs throughout the year. Those interested can contact Dawson (337) 281-3512.
“It’s a good program and we are always looking for those who would like to help,” Dawson said.