The summer food program is coming back to Liberty County, with some changes.
Program coordinator David Floyd is trying to pin down sites across the county to provide the summer lunches.
“We’ve got some exciting developments,” he told county commissioners, “but we’re starting out with a limp. It has been a challenge because we’re having to rebuild this.”
The county received two bids to prepare the meals, one for $8.50 per meal and another for $5 per meal, which were both higher than expected. Floyd said he reached out to Coastal Georgia Community Action Authority, the low bidder, to reduce the cost to $4.25 per meal.
Floyd said for the first time in his tenure running the program the food is being prepared in Liberty County. For many years, it was prepared in Brunswick.
Even with the lower price, though, the county expects to be out of pocket nearly $60,000 for the program.
The program will run 38 days and expects to provide 500 meals a day. Meanwhile, Floyd said, the federal reimbursement has not gone up to match the rising prices of food.
Floyd said he talked with Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia and everyone running a summer food program is losing money.
Floyd said he would like to have 15 sites in all across the county and is working to secure private sites. The program, which will run from 11 a.m.1 p.m., is going back to traditional sites in Midway and Riceboro, at the youth center there, and will be setting up shop in Holmestown.
“We’re conscious we’re trying to spread it out over the county,” Floyd said. “It’s a lot easier to bring food to where kids are instead of get kids to come to where it is.”
Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia has announced it will have three sites in the county, at the Hinesville branch of the Live Oak Public Library, the Midway branch of the Live Oak Public Library and the YMCA’s Camp Cherokee, for its Happy Helpings program.
The Happy Helpings program will run June 1 to July 28 from 11 a.m.–noon at the Hinesville library and from noon–1 p.m. at the Midway library. There will be two sessions at the Y’s Camp Cherokee from June 1–July 28, from 8:30–9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. each day.
Commissioners also expressed their happiness in reviving the program, which the COVID-19 pandemic had shuttered.
“I’m glad to see it back up and running,” Commissioner Justin Frasier said.