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School families have ‘A Place at the Table’

MADISON – Hunger doesn’t take a summer break. Leaders with Madison City Schools have devised a recipe to feed hungry children this summer.

The new program, “A Place at the Table,” is providing school families in Madison with groceries during summer months while school is not in session. Non-profit organizations and Madison district personnel are collaborating to conduct A Place at the Table.

A Place at the Table gained impetus when MCS Social Worker Jasmine Green and Child Nutrition Program Supervisor Marty Tatara approached administrators at West Madison and Horizon elementary schools about conducting a pilot program to feed students and families who received free/reduced lunches during the 2016-2017 school year. 

West Madison Principal Dr. Daphne Jah and Horizon Counselor Jennifer Walker are key contacts with the project.

“We understand through the percentage of students receiving free/reduced lunches during the school year that these families are dependent upon those two meals (breakfast and lunch) that the students receive during the school year,” Walker said.

“Therefore, being able to provide assistance with groceries for these families can go a long way toward easing some of the burdens experienced by these families, especially in the summertime,” Walker said.

Residents and businesses can take food donations to Asbury Food Pantry at Asbury United Methodist Church, 980 Hughes Road in Madison or House of Harvest, 9144 Wall Triana in Harvest. Asbury will take food to West Madison, and House of Harvest will take food to Horizon.

School families can get food packages at West Madison at 4976 Wall Triana on Wednesdays from 2 to 4 p.m. or at Horizon at 7855 Old Madison Pike on Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m.

“Any family with students in Madison City Schools can come by and pick up food,” Jah said.

“West Madison is providing pre-packaged food bags for their families, and Horizon does a pre-packaged food bag, plus some extra selections for some items,” Walker said. “We wanted to provide some choices for the families for things that are provided as ‘extra.’”

Most of the food is non-perishable, but A Place at the Table does provide some fresh produce when people donate vegetables or fruit. In early June, Asbury provided fresh green beans for the families, Jah said.

“Ideally, we would like to continue the program throughout the school year to those in need as long as there is appropriate space available in the school building to provide this service,” Walker said.

Eric Terrell, MCS Assistant Superintendent – Operations, estimates that as many as 25 percent of families qualify for A Place at the Table.

For more information, call MCS Central Office at 256-464-8370, Horizon at 256-464-3614 or West Madison at 256-837-1189.

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