Education Celebrations: VISD offers food program to kids during summer

The recent Facebook and media coverage of two Victoria police officers who went out of their way to help a family in need provided another reminder that even in a robust economy, there are still children who go hungry.

Everyone who works with children in Victoria was no doubt applauding their kindness.

We know that when school is out, many children in Victoria go without nutritious meals. We have been so fortunate to work with the Food Bank of the Golden Crescent and the Summer Feeding Program to provide food to children who might otherwise go without during the summer months.

During the past two decades, Victoria ISD has provided nutritious breakfast and lunch meals at no charge to children up to the age of 18 who come to one of the summer feeding sites. The summer feeding costs are underwritten as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program. Child Nutrition Director Dana Bigham said during June, almost 2,400 meals are served on a daily basis.

Some of the feeding sites are at VISD schools while others are operated in partnership with local organizations. This year, 16 sites are open, including Hopkins, Crain, F.W. Gross, Shields, Rowland and Smith elementary schools, as well as Patti Welder Middle School, Liberty Academy and Victoria East High School. Our community partner sites include the Church of Christ, Houston House Apartments, YMCA, Fox Run Apartments, Victoria Christian School on Colorado Street, Faith Family Church and Trinity Episcopal Church.

With two exceptions, the summer feeding program will continue weekdays through Aug. 8. The Church of Christ on Airline location will close Thursday. The Trinity Episcopal location is open July 14 to 18 only.

For serving times for breakfast and lunch, check the Summer Feeding Program information on the VISD website.

Fridays, the Child Nutrition Department partners with the Food Bank to pass out backpacks at Rowland, Hopkins, F.W. Gross and Shields elementary schools. In June, almost 500 backpacks went home with registered students to help them have quality foods on the weekend. The backpack program is made possible through the generosity of community support of the food bank.

If adults wish to have lunch with their child at any of our feeding sites, the meal charge is $3.50.

Nelson Mandela said, "There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children."

In Victoria, we have been blessed with people who truly care about children and want to nurture them in a way so they can grow up to be caring adults. We truly appreciate the efforts of those many people who work, usually behind the scenes, to make lives better for our children. Your efforts may not make the news, but you can end the day knowing you did make a positive difference. You are worthy of celebration.

Diane Boyett is the communications director for Victoria school district. Con tact her at diane.boyett@visd.net.