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School Nutrition department offers free summer meals

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Summer meals are available for all children under 18 in the area thanks to the Jones County School Nutrition program, making it easier on Jones County families.

Matoshia Grant, the new director of the Jones County School Nutrition Program, said she’s excited to be in Jones County. She said she heard great things about Jones County, so she applied for the position Roslyn Foster retired from after the school year ended.

“Georgia is my home. I moved away right after high school to go to college in Florida, but I came back home,” she said. “I’ve been in the Middle Georgia area ever since. I’ve been in school nutrition for 22 years now.”

She said she loves seeing the children get excited about lunch time. She said growing up, lunch time was the best time, because her mother was a school nutritionist and so was her grandmother. She said it’s what she wanted to do, too.

“I plan on doing a lot of great things for the community of Jones County. I plan to carry the legacy on of Mrs. Foster. I want to make a difference here,” Grant said.

The new director said the school nutrition program is offering free meals to all children under 18 years of age this summer. She said they don’t have to be in school yet, but they have to be old enough to chew the food. She said adults who are 21 years of age and under can also receive meals if they have a state identified disability.

“What people can do is find a site, and pick up a meal,” the director said. “We ask that the parents go to our website and order the meals, so we can have some idea on count, but that’s not a requirement. On Monday the children get five meals.”

The locations for the meals are the Jones County High School, Gray Station Middle School, Gray Elementary School, the Jones County Public Library, and the Boys and Girls Club. All locations offer meals on Monday from ll a.m. to 2 p.m. Bus deliveries will also be available.

Grant said the reason they picked Monday for pick ups is so the children can enjoy their summer, and not have to worry about coming to the locations daily. She said any child, whether they be from Jones County or not, can receive meals.

“This is important because it relieves some burdens on parents. They don’t have to worry about their child eating breakfast or lunch so much. This also combats hunger. We don’t know what happens to these kids after they leave school,” she said.

The director said there is a need for this program in Georgia due to hunger. She said Jones County isn’t exempt from it. She said if the children need the food, it’s available for them.

She said when the students return back to school, they will receive free meals still. She said parents may have to fill out an application next school year. She said they want to support local farmers this year, so they want to purchase from local farmers and local companies if any are available.

Grant said she can’t wait to find out what the children are like and see the many different personalities. She said she’s ready and available to help students at any time with their nutrition needs in Jones County.

“I’m excited to interact with the children. I love going to the schools and finding out what they like to eat,” Grant said. “They are our customers, so I like to sit down with them and find out more about their tastes. I want to encourage the students to eat in the cafeteria.”