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Posted: June 22, 2017 3:23 p.m.
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Summer food program

Courtesy photo/

Linda Hickman, a site manager for the Summer Food Program, packs lunches for children at the Pineland Square apartment complex on June 9 in Hinesville. Hickman gets joy out of helping kids in her community and has been with the program for four years.

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School's out for the summer, and while this means freedom from books and teachers, some children are separated from their steady meals. Luckily, kids in Liberty County will be able to get a free lunch from their area’s Summer Food Program site.

Marlena Smith and her three children joined other military families at the Irene G. Thomas Park in Hinesville, Ga. The military wives group could feed their kids at the park thanks to the Summer Food Program site that was set up there.

“My kids enjoyed the food,” Smith said. “They could play on the playground and eat lunch for free. I didn’t know they had this program around here.”

The Summer Food Program is a place for kids to get a free meal, socialize and play with other children in their community. Parks and neighborhoods around Liberty County feature some of these food sites. Children that would otherwise be inside, at home, are now outside socializing.

The Summer Food Program has run in Liberty County for over 30 years. The aim of the program is to help underprivileged kids throughout the county by providing a free lunch.

“Our county commissioners felt it was important that we assist those kids who may need help getting their next meal,” said David Floyd, the Liberty County Summer Food Program director. “The funding that goes to the national school lunch program during that academic year gets put into the Summer Food Program when school lets out.”

The program is run through a combination of county hires and volunteer workers. One of the people who manage the Pineland Square apartment complex has been working with the program for four years.

“It is fulfilling to serve the community,” said Linda Hickman, a site worker with Summer Food Program. “I’ve fed about 50 children today. This is a wonderful program to help kids and families during the summer months.”

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