Free breakfast, lunch will now be offered to students

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News 12 First at Five / Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Experts predict it could cost more than $240,000 to raise a child from birth to college, and over $10,000 of it will go toward food.

"It is very hard ... it is very hard. They are constantly growing, so they are constantly eating," said Pamela Palmer.

If you're feeding teenagers at your home, you can relate to Palmer. Palmer has a 15-year-old son and says the federal breakfast and lunch grant awarded to Richmond County will be a big help.

"You know, you have to constantly buy clothes, shoes, food, and stuff like that. So, this program is really going to help a lot," she said.

The Community Eligibility Option will give all Richmond County students breakfast and lunch at no cost to them or their families, which is something Josephine Mack says should excite every parent, regardless of need.

"Parents can send their children to school and be assured that they can eat breakfast and lunch at no cost. They don't have to pay for a meal, so they can now take that money for something else," she said.

Mack, nutritional director for Richmond County Schools, says a full child learns better, and in turn, could cause less distractions in class, so everyone can learn more.

Richmond County isn't the only one doing this. The Boys and Girls Clubs of the CSRA works with private donors during the summer, and Burke County Schools has had a similar program for over 20 years.

In Richmond County, parents could save between $320 to $360 a year per child. It's money Palmer says can now go toward her son's groceries at home.

"Just to feed him a week is about $70 ... just to feed him," she said.

The county says the program will also eliminate paperwork for school employees, who will now spend more time on focusing on meals and their nutritional value.

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