'Helps out a lot': Durham Public Schools summer food service program aims to feed thousands

Akilah Davis Image
Wednesday, June 21, 2023
Durham summer food program up and running
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The Durham program is expected to feed nearly 4,000 students a day during the summer.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Brayden White is among several children who ate their first meals from the Durham Public Schools Summer Food Service Program. The children gathered in the Oxford Manor Recreational Center to eat and participate in nutrition education activities.

White's mother, Inquashia Moore, attends Durham Technical Community College and she's working toward a degree in business. She is hoping to one day provide for Brayden and her five other children with no outside support. In the meantime, feeding them through this program is a top priority.

"It helps out a lot," said Moore. "I'll do anything for my babies. They will eat regardless."

For many students attending Durham Public Schools, eating at school is likely the only meal they'll have. The Summer Food Service Program is a much-needed resource that parents believe is needed. More than 30,000 students make up Durham Public Schools. More than half are eligible for free and reduced lunch.

Braggtown's Oxford Manor is one of several feeding sites that will be open all summer.

"Some sites serve breakfast. Others only lunch. Some serve both meals. Some sites are open Monday through Friday or Monday through Thursday. It gives people access," said Jim Keaton, Durham Public Schools director of food nutrition.

According to Keaton, the program will feed nearly 4,000 students a day. On Tuesday, the summer meals mascot Ray of Sunshine posed with the children for photos. The program runs until Aug. 4.

"At this site, it'll always be like that. When it's better weather, the children will be able to look through and pick out books from the bookmobile," said Keaton.

It's a summer program parents like Moore can appreciate.

"It's beneficial because it's got healthy food and your children get to interact with other children they don't get to see on the regular," she said.

Similar programs are available in other counties.

Summer meal sites can be located across the state by texting FOOD or COMIDA to 304-304.