Families can join program giving thousands of Knox Co. kids free lunch

A Knox County Community Action Committee summer food service program feeds thousands of kids lunch every weekday in the summer.
Your family may qualify for free kids lunches
Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 8:02 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A Knox County Community Action Committee summer food service program feeds thousands of kids lunch every weekday in the summer. The program is expanding and needs more residential sites to visit to feed a few thousand more.

Workers at the CAC serve the Boys and Girls Club, YMCA programs and more. They also go to four neighborhoods between 11:30 a.m. and noon Monday through Friday to feed kids aged one to 18.

Those locations include:

-Hiawassee Square Apartments at 176 Hiawassee Avenue

-Sutherland Square Apartments at 410 Harry Street

-Holston Oaks Apartments at 1930 Natchez Avenue

-Big Oak Apartments at 3807 Middlebrook Pike

Families don’t have to live there to receive the meals but can live in nearby areas.

“We know that there are children who are needing food, and we have lunches prepared and are ready to serve them, so we just need to find the locations where a small group of children would be together,” Director of Nutrition Services for the Knox County CAC, Judith Pelot, said. “It’s hard for us to figure out where the students are if they’re not in a program.”

CAC workers can help kids across Knox County near schools with more than 50 percent free and reduced lunch.

“We are trying to find those students and make sure they have an opportunity to receive a meal,” Pelot said.

Amanda Hethcoat’s three kids look forward to their lunch every weekday.

“My children absolutely love it,” Hethcoat said. “Normally, they won’t eat like this at the house. Unless they’re with other kids, they won’t eat good.”

On Tuesday, they got a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, chips, carrots, string cheese, apple slices and chocolate milk.

USDA funding provides free summer lunches that make a big difference.

Hethcoat said, “It’s helped our whole community out here.”

If you are interested in seeing if your community could qualify, Pelot recommended calling the CAC office at 865-546-3500. They are looking to go to locations where more than a dozen kids could benefit.

Meals are served on a first-come, first-served basis. Parents must accompany children and the meals have to be eaten on-site. For families not living in Knox County, check out this resource to find summer feeding programs near you.

The program runs through July 29.

Copyright 2022 WVLT. All rights reserved.