Public Health and Human Services, community partners provide thousands of free lunches to children during summer months

Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services (PHHS) would like to thank community partners Columbia Public Schools (CPS) and Powerhouse Community Development Corporation (Powerhouse CDC) for significantly and successfully expanding the number of free summer meal options available to children in the community during 2021. Together, the three entities provided nearly 402,000 meals to local children during the summer months.”Traditionally we have only had two or three summer feeding sites in Columbia. This year, in response to the pandemic, we sought to expand the summer feeding options for kids in our community,” PHHS Human Services Manager Steve Hollis said. “To do so, we strategically identified areas of need and, in partnership with Columbia Public Schools and Powerhouse CDC, we were able to establish 17 feeding sites throughout Columbia.”Columbia Public Schools provided 173,666 breakfasts and lunches at four open school sites.”Providing access to food during the summer months is one thing we can do as a community to keep our scholars safe and healthy,” CPS Superintendent Brian Yearwood said. “The reality is that many of our children rely on school to provide regular daily meals. When school is not in session, and with the help of outstanding community organizations, we are able to provide some consistency and address food insecurities for our scholars.”Powerhouse CDC provided 226,679 meals at 12 sites.”Our mission was to ensure that no child goes hungry. Although the need was massive, the Powerhouse Summer Food Team rose to the occasion and provided meals to children throughout Columbia,” Powerhouse CDC Executive Director Charles Stephenson said.Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services provided 1,523 lunches this summer in Douglass Park. The Summer Food Service Program is a federally-funded, state-administered program.”The Public Health and Human Services Department’s summer feeding site at Douglass Park was a great success. With the help of our community partners, we were again able to provide nutritious lunches and enrichment activities to children in the Douglass Park neighborhood,” PHHS Nutrition Coordinator Erin Harris said.PHHS would like to thank Columbia Parks and Recreation and Columbia Public Schools for providing several of the summer feeding locations.

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