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Houston County Courier - Local News

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Local children benefit from summer meals program
Houston County Courier

By Jenna Duncan
News Reporter

Crockett ISD once again will partner with the East Texas Food Bank to provide the summer feeding program for children under 18 in the community. Qualifying children receive free breakfast and lunch through the program. The Crockett ISD Board of Trustees voted unanimously to participate in the program during the Monday, March 25 board meeting after addressing concerns from last year, particularly a "Lunchable" that was served past its expiration date. Brandi Lamberth, who coordinates the child hunger programs for the food bank, and Joey Morris, director of operations, fielded questions from board members about concerns from last year as well as how the program will work this upcoming year. Board Secretary Karen Johnson asked about the expired food served last year, which Morris explained was still safe to eat when it was served because it previously had been frozen. He also emphasized that a similar mistake would not happen this year, as the program will only use current, first run products. "I really want to make sure we're clear. There was never an issue or concern with food safety. Using expired products is a code date recommended, and USDA even says in its food safety guidelines that any perishable item, if it's maintained properly and frozen, can continue to stay from the time it expires to the time it's served and (be) perfectly fine." The food bank will provide all food for the program, which Meals on Wheels employees will package daily in Tyler and then deliver to the school. The drop off will include lunch for that day, as well as breakfast for the following morning. Last year, the program delivered meals at the county line and school staff was responsible for meeting them each day to collect the food. "The last thing we want to do is not be able to feed children in the areas that need the program," Lamberth said. At the request of Board Vice President Deborah Kennedy, Lamberth also discussed a different program the food bank offers, the Backpack Program. This program runs throughout the school year, and sends qualifying children home each Friday with nonperishable food items to make sure they have food throughout the weekend. In other business, Ann Fiolek, principal of the Early Childhood Center, spoke on two separate agenda items relating the Pre-K. First, she explained to the board why there is a third


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