What’s Right With Our School: Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act

HAWKINSVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – For the first time, PulaskiCountyElementary School will have free lunch through the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act.

The program allows students, faculty and staff to eat all meals at no charge based off of the status of the community socioeconomic conditions.

Principal Keith Green says it is a much needed program.

“We’ve always thought about ways to able to assist our students in getting free lunches.”

The act insures students in low-income communities will be provided breakfast and lunch.

“You have to have at least 40 percent or greater of your student population that would qualify based on family or income…and we met that qualification,” says Green.

Green adds the school has 600 kids in attendance, and at least 400 or more of those kids are impacted by the program.

Teacher Courtney Phillips says parents have told her a financial burden has been lifted.

Phillips, also a mother of three elementary school students, says she can now put more than $200 towards other home necessities.

“Oh yes, it’s a huge relief,” Phillips says, “Even as a teacher, I was always behind on my lunch bill. That makes me feel bad to work at the system and keep getting reminders that I still owe money.”

She adds breakfast for her, plus three kids would cost her between $3.50-$4.00 per child.

Math teacher Jessica Owens talks about the importance of children getting their nutrition before a tough math lesson.

“As a teacher, it’s important that kids are nourished before they come in the classroom, so that they’re just ready to learn.”

Green says the right amount of nutrition can increase the productivity in a classroom setting. 

For 18 years, lunchroom worker Lueverda Brown has been serving meals to children in Pulaski County.

“I love to serve a child, because I know that when I give that child his plate, he’s going to get the nourishment that he can’t at home,” says Brown.

When asked, Brown says she would do the job another 18 years, if it meant giving kids an opportunity to leave the lunchroom satisfied and go into the classroom ready to focus.

“That child is happy because that child done got what he needed in life: clothes, food, everything. That’s a happy child,” says Brown.

Currently, Pulaski County Elementary School is the only school in the county receiving this free lunch program.

Officials say it is a possibility the middle and high schools will participate in the future. 

Categories: Pulaski County, Special Report, What’s Right With Our Schools

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