By Denise DuBois
Heroes to the rescue – nutrition heroes, that is. Tomorrow, the Child Nutrition staff at Phenix City Schools will don the Batman emblem for School Lunch Hero Day. The Child Nutrition Program staff of just under 70 employees served approximately 7,000 meals each day in March, including snacks, making them true heroes.
“I am blessed to work and be a part of such a special department of employees. It is truly an honor. Whether it be 4 a.m. or 3 p.m., they strive to do their very best for our children,” said Child Nutrition Director Dr. Brindlea Griffin. “They are hard-working employees who love what they do and meet the needs of many of our children. Without school nutrition we would have many students hungry as we have many on free and reduced lunch. I quite often call our department “Team CNP.” Any time one team member is weak, they always work and support to help each other.”
Phenix City Schools has 71 percent of its students participating in free or reduced lunches and breakfast is free at every school for all students. In the fall, students who are still on campus after school can grab dinner as part of the Supper Program at Central High School. The school system also receives fruit and vegetable grants so employees can provide fresh food and snacks to children.
Recently, the Alabama State Department of Education audited the school system as part of its three-year rotation to make sure the Child Nutrition Program and school system was maintaining United States Department of Agriculture and other government standards.
“There were no citations and no findings at central office or any school site – an excellent review of this dedicated group,” Griffin said.
But the hero work doesn’t stop when school ends. The employees continue being champions for the students throughout the summer as part of the Summer Feeding Program.
From June 4 through July 20, all children 18 and under can visit a feeding site from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. for free breakfast and from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for free lunch. Sites include: Phenix City Intermediate School, Central High School. South Girard School, Roy Martin Center, Spencer Recreation Center, C-Club, Youth Center, Riverview Apartments, L.P. Stough Apartments, Frederick Douglas Apartments and Mother Mary Mission. For more information about summer feeding, call (334) 298-0534.