Children Can Eat Nutritious Meals While On Summer Vacation

The smiles on Deonla and Jalaya's faces come from good food and good times with family.

Their mother Javonda Hudson said, "It's just something that I can do with my kids. I can spend time. I can sit down and talk to them and like you said, I don't have to cook. It gets us away from the house."

Five days a week, children 18 and under can eat free through Gulfport's feeding program. The city's summer camp brings in many of the 200 kids who dine at Pass Road elementary. Counselors say there are advantages to bringing the campers here.

"You don't have to fool with a lot of the different procedures involving lunch," said counselor Daniel Francis. "They already have the meals prepared.The school lunch program does pretty good when it comes to giving the kids what they need, a good balanced meal."

Hamburgers, french fries and fresh fruit were on Monday's menu. Other days also feature "kid-friendly" menus.

"They give us hot dogs, or corn dogs, or chicken nuggets. It's a variety," cafeteria manager Winaie Carter said.

She says during the summer months they provide what could be the only healthy meal some children get. But nutrition didn't seem to be the kids' main concern.

"They just worry about how it tastes. If it tastes good or not," said Winaie.

The Gulfport Summer feeding program operates out of four school cafeterias. They include Pass Road, Central, 28th Street, and Gaston Point elementary schools. Lunch is served from 10:45 a.m. until 12:45 p.m. Again any child 18 and under can eat free regardless of economic status.