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Posted: May 28, 2017 5:00 a.m.

Action Ministries to launch 3rd year of Smart Lunch, Smart Kid

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COVINGTON, Ga. - Action Ministries announced it will launch the third year of Smart Lunch, Smart Kid, the organization’s nutrition and educational enrichment opportunity program for Georgia’s kids, on May 30. The program will run through July 27.

Tamar Richardson, of Action Ministries’ local chapter, said by the end of the 2016 summer the program served up to 400 children daily, with a more than 8,000 lunches delivered throughout the entire summer at six locations in the county.

Locally, kids can receive lunches at B. C. Crowell Park at 4 N. Broad St., Porterdale, from 12  to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday (at the pavilion); Eagle Point Trailer Park 2145 Highway 36 Covington, from 12  to 1 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; Allen Memorial UMC 803 Whatcoat St., Oxford, from 12  to 1 p.m.  Tuesday through Friday; Covington Mill UMC 6154 Collins St., Covington, from 12  to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday; Salem UMC 3962 Salem Road, Covington, from 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; Bethlehem Baptist 2177 W. Usher St. Covington, from 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Lunches are also delivered daily to a local extended stay hotel and the Jamestown Community. All kids lunches must be eaten on site.

Action Ministries has partnered with Newton County School System’s (NCSS’s) Seamless Summer program for five weeks of the summer to provide school lunches to some of the children.

Our corporate sponsors to date include:  SRG Global, FiberVisions, Longleaf  Hospice, Greer Stansfield and Turner LLP, Covington Police Who Care Fund, Wagner Service Solutions, Kiwanis Club of Covington, the Frances Wood Wilson Foundation, and Newton Federal Bank. In addition, numerous individuals have made donations to the program.

“We rely on hundreds of volunteers from numerous church congregations and civic groups to make this program a success,” Richardson said.

Local businesses and civic groups who are assisting with donating/making/and/or delivering lunches include:  The Covington News Staff, Pinnacle Realty, Element Funding, Kelly Products, the Porterdale Citizens Police Academy, Hodges Mace, SRG Global, Kiwanis Club of Covington, and Oxford Lions Club.

Church Congregations involved in  the program include: Covington First  United  Methodist Church (UMC), Julia A. Porter UMC, Grace Baptist, Pathway Community Church, Salem UMC, St. Paul AME, Red Oak UMC, Church of the Good Shepherd, Crossroads  Baptist Church, Alcovy UMC, Covington Mill UMC, Mt. Pleasant UMC, Mt. Zion Baptist, Allen  Memorial UMC, Mansfield UMC.

Richardson said a lunch costs on average $2.50 a day. Included in the program are enrichment/literacy activities, so $15 a week ensures that one child eats every day for a week.

Financial donations are welcomed to assist the program and can made by mail to Action Ministries at PO Box 693, Covington, GA 30015 or online at www.actionministries.net/donate (select Piedmont Region and ALSK as the specific program area).

“We are always looking for additional church partners, corporate partners and volunteers,” she said.

For more information, call Action Ministries/Piedmont Region at 678-280-4161 or email Hunger Relief Coordinator Noelle West at nwest@actionministries.net

Created to help 1 million children who are at risk of hunger when school’s out for the summer, the program provides children in communities all across the state with healthy meals and academic enrichment.

“Thanks to our numerous volunteers and corporate partners, Smart Lunch, Smart Kid has been able to expand each year since the program’s inception,” Kelley Henderson, president and CEO of Action Ministries, said in a news release. “There is a tremendous need in Georgia because so many kids are at risk of hunger and the academic ‘summer slide.’”

In 2017, the organization, with the help of volunteers, will serve lunches to children in 16 Georgia counties comprising Butts, Carroll, Clarke, Douglas, DeKalb, Fayette, Floyd, Fulton, Gwinnett, Hall, Henry, McDuffie, Newton, Oconee, Richmond and Rockdale.

“Research shows proper nutrition in childhood plays an important role in a young person’s physical and mental growth,” Henderson said. “But, according to hunger experts, one million kids in Georgia are classified as ‘food insecure’ meaning they have limited or uncertain access to adequate food and are at risk of hunger.”

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