TLC Center’s Summer Food Program kicks off on Monday

Published 7:06 pm Sunday, June 4, 2017

On Monday, the TLC Community Center will kick off their 15th year of the Summer Food Program.

Each year during the summer when children are out of school, the TLC Community Center works to help provide meals to meet the kids’ nutritional needs.

“Many of the children in our community qualify for free or reduced meals,” TLC Community Center Director Angie Odom said. “When school is in they get most of their meals at school. But, when school lets out for the summer, many families struggle trying to provide food for their children.”

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Seeing that need in the community, Odom launched the Summer Food Program to try to help as many children as she could.

“This is our 15th year, and we do this program each year without any government funding,” Odom said.

The program starts Monday and runs through August 4. Each Monday through Friday during the program meals are delivered throughout the community, and each child receives a hot meal to eat for dinner as well as a bagged breakfast, lunch, and snack items for the next day.

The routes will leave the Center around 2:15 p.m. to deliver the food, which is earlier than the delivery time used last year.

“The reason we’re leaving earlier is because the Vacation Bible School church vans were picking the kids up last year before we got there and the kids were missing their meal,” Odom said. “We want to make sure we don’t miss any children.”

Over the years the program has grown from serving 100 kids one meal per day to last year serving an average of 425 kids three meals each day.

The majority of the program’s routes are in and around Elizabethton, Valley Forge, and Hampton.”Because we have to have our kitchen inspected by the health department we have to keep our food at a certain temperature to comply with standards so we can’t deliver any further out at this time,” Odom said.

To help reach children who don’t live along one of the three routes, Odom said families can come to any delivery site to pick up meals for the children. Families can also come directly to the TLC Community Center to pick up meals between 1:30-2 p.m. each day of the program. Odom asks that those planning to pick up meals at the Center call ahead so the meals can be prepared and ready to go.

This year’s delivery sites are as follows:

• Pine Ridge Circle/Arney Hill

• South Hills

• Watauga Avenue (Elizabethton City Schools building)

• Lee Apartments

• West G Street Apartments

• Black Bottom at Mulberry Street

• Cottage Avenue (Behind Regions Bank)

• Locust Street trailer park

• Lynnwood/Lynnridge

• Lover’s Lane

• Fitzsimmons Hill Road

• Long Hollow Road at the white church

• Mill Pond Road

• Swimming Pool Road

• Dennis Cove Road

• Nave Street

• Betty Street

• Highway 19E – trailer park near Doe River Gorge

“We’ll be blowing the horn and making a lot of noise to let them know we are there,” Odom said, adding delivery times will be more finalized by the end of the first week of the program.