JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - In some parts of Jackson, the meals children are fed at school may be the bulk of what they eat all day.
The Methodist Children’s Homes of Mississippi is piloting a program this summer that will see to it that area children between 18 months and 18 years old get breakfast and lunch while they’re on summer vacation. From July 3 to August 2, the campus will be open for breakfast from 8 to 9 a.m. and for lunch from noon until 1 p.m.
“This is the first year we’ve done it, so we don’t know really what we’re expecting, we don’t know how many youth we’ll serve," said Alissa Hebert-Wallace, Methodist’s Director of Program Operations. "But we just want to be a strong presence for our youth in our community and give them a place that they know is welcoming and able to serve them.”
One major aim of the program is not only to fill stomachs, but to fill hearts as well.
“What I’ve learned being in ministry for years is that it’s hard for people to receive the gospel when they don’t have basic needs like food and clothing,” said Methodist’s Campus Life Minister Michael Williams.
Methodist Children’s Home will also have some summer programming, though the schedule has not been finalized yet. Sheriff Victor Mason said keeping kids encouraged and off the streets is a reason he’s proud of the program too.
“A child that’s full of food is a happy child, and gives that child an incentive to go out and do something positive, but if that child is hungry he may do something negative that could get him in trouble,” Mason said.
Today volunteers walked through some neighborhoods in the area of Flag Chapel Road, passing out flyers and letting residents know about the program, encouraging them to come out when it starts. They were joined by officers and deputies from Jackson Police Department and the Hinds County Sheriff’s Department.