We are so fortunate to live in an area with amazing public library systems. From story time, to the Begin with Books Program, to the wide array of programs and events for all ages, the county libraries are an invaluable resource to our community.
Background of the Seamless Summer Feeding Program
The newest program that Charleston County Public Libraries are taking part of is the Seamless Summer Feeding Program. The program is run by Charleston County School District (CCSD) and it’s aim is to serve free breakfast to all children in need during the summer vacation period. The program is an extension of the National School Lunch Program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. All the meals meet the federal meal pattern and nutritional requirements. The program was piloted locally in 2016 with two locations, and this year will have eight locations. No approval process is required for participants to redeem the free breakfast.
The people that are making this program happen in the Lowcountry
Programs like the Seamless Summer Feeding don’t come to be without the dedication and hard work of the people behind the scenes. I was fortunate enough to be able to hear directly from Jeremy Tunstill who is the Program Manager for CCSD. He noted that the level of dedication by Charleston County Public Libraries (CCPL) is very impressive and that it is their hard work and passion that makes programs like this a success.
Kim Bowlin is the Special Events Coordinator for CCPL. She pointed out that summer is the hungriest time of year since many children rely on school food for nutritious meals. Ms. Bowlin brought the Seamless Feeding Program to life by seeing how libraries were already essentially serving as community centers and how they were already equipped to incorporate the meal program into the services already provided.
In order for a specific site to participate, the building must be physically located where a minimum of 50% of the students that attend public school in the area qualify for free or reduced meal programs during the school year. The statistics Ms. Bowlin gave me were staggering. At many of the elementary schools participating, the percentages of students living in poverty were much higher than 50%, with three of the schools having more than 70%. She also pointed out that many take for granted the luxury of having a personal vehicle, and that those who are without one, are often unable to gain access to nutritious meals.
No child should go hungry, and we are just so thrilled to be able to fulfill the CCPL Mission in another way where we can be seen as an open, welcoming space to every child to fill their minds and their bellies when they come to see us this summer.
The Seamless Summer Feeding Program begins on June 6, 2017 and ends on August 4, 2017. The deadline for sites that are interested in receiving and serving free meals is May 5th. CCPL will serve breakfast to children and teens age 18 and under at eight branch locations, including:
- Cooper River Memorial Library
3503 Rivers Avenue, Charleston
June 6-August 2; Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10-11:30 a.m.
- Dorchester Road Regional Library
6325 Dorchester Road, North Charleston
June 8-August 3; Thursdays from 10:30-11:30 a.m.
- Hurd/St. Andrews Regional Library
1735 N. Woodmere Drive, Charleston
June 6-August 4; Mondays-Fridays from 10-11 a.m.
- John L. Dart Library
1067 King Street, Charleston
June 6-July 27; Mondays-Thursdays from 10-11 a.m.
- John’s Island Regional Library
3531 Maybank Highway, John’s Island
June 6-August 2; Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11-11:45 a.m.
- Main Library
68 Calhoun Street, Charleston
June 12-July 28; Mondays-Fridays from 9:30-11:30 a.m.
- McClellanville Library
222 Baker Street, McClellanville
June 6-July 25; Tuesdays from 10-11:30 a.m.
- Otranto Road Regional Library
2261 Otranto Road, North Charleston
June 6-August 1; Tuesdays from 10-11:30 a.m.
For more information, please check CCPL’s website. Thank you to Jeremy Tunstill, Kim Bowlin, and all of the people at CCSD and CCPL for bringing such an important program to our community.