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John Thompson

Elizabethton Bureau Chief
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Community Education

Summer feeding program aims to fill children's needs

June 2nd, 2014 2:38 pm by John Thompson

Summer feeding program aims to fill children's needs

ELIZABETHTON — It’s that time of year that most children enjoy the most. From swimming to playing on youth teams, there is plenty to do, and best of all, there is no school. But Angie Odom of the TLC Community Center has learned that the end of the school year means the start of hungry times for many children.

“I learned this from working with children in our Women’s Center,” Odom said. During the school year, she said these children get much of their nutrition from the school lunch program, but at the end of the school year, they must fall back onwhat their families can provide.

After learning of the need, Odom began working to provide a summer food program for these children. It started 11 years ago with a program that fed 75 children a day, but it has continuously grown since that time. Last year, the program served 320 children per day, providing 48,960 meals during the nine-week program.

This year’s program may be the biggest yet, with plans for weekly service for children in Roan Mountain as well daily service to Elizabethton and Hampton.

Odom said the program begins Monday and will run each week during the summer from Monday through Friday. On Fridays, the program will distribute 35 pounds of food per family to tide them over for the weekend.

She said each day the children will be provided with a hot supper and a bagged breakfast and lunch for the next day. Odom said that during the first week, sandwiches instead of hot meals will be provided so team members can get a handle on how many children are being served.

“We don’t want to waste the food,” Odom said. After that, children can depend on getting a hot meal until school starts again in August.

Odom said there will be four routes in Elizabethton and Hampton this year and one in Roan Mountain. All meals are prepared at the TLC kitchen in the Watauga Industrial Park. The Women’s Center’s familiar recreational vehicle will run a route that will go to Pine Ridge Circle at 4:15 p.m., South Hills at 4:15 p.m., West G Street Apartments at 4:50 p.m. and the Locust Street Mobile Home Park at 5 p.m.

The center’s white van will go to Lynnwood and Lynnridge Apartments, serving at the top of the hill at 4:10 p.m. and the bottom of the hill at 4:20 p.m., then go to three mobile home parks on Lovers Lane at 4:45 p.m.

A blue Jeep will have its first stop on Dan Bowers Road at 4:10 p.m., Swimming Pool Road Mobile Home Park at 4:35 p.m., Nave Street at 4:50 p.m., Dennis Cove Road at 4:55 p.m. and River Edge Mobile Home Park at 5:10 p.m.

Heather Hopland’s group will deliver to Jena Beth Drive between 4-4:30 p.m. and the mobile home park next to Jena Beth Drive at 4:45 p.m.

Children in Roan Mountain will be served in the parking lot of Roan Mountain Holiness Church parking lot at noon Fridays. Odom said she hopes that she can get volunteers in the Roan Mountain community to sponsor and expand the program there.

“Because this is our first year there, we don’t know how many to plan for and we need more volunteers,” she said, adding that the children coming to the Roan Mountain location will get a bag lunch and the 35 pounds of food for the family every week.

For more information, call the TLC Community Center at 543-4673 or Odom at 895-8601. Odom said her program still needs sponsors and volunteers, even one-day-a-week volunteers who can transport the 35-pound food boxes on Fridays in their own trucks or vans.

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