DeKalb County Schools students to get free meals during winter break

DeKalb County School District will serve food to students during the winter break.

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DeKalb County School District will serve food to students during the winter break.

DeKalb County School District officials announced today that they will serve free meals to students during the upcoming two-week winter break.

The meals will be covered by the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, in partnership with Jewish Family & Career Services, through a grant provided by an anonymous donor.

Officials said breakfast, lunch and snack services will be available Dec. 26, 27, 28 and 31 and Jan. 2 and 3 for DeKalb County students. Meals will be available at Stone Mountain Elementary School, at 6720 James B. Rivers Memorial Drive in Stone Mountain, and Woodward Elementary, at 3034 Curtis Drive NE in Brookhaven. Nonperishable food items will be given to students on Dec. 28 at both schools through a "Back Pack Meals" giveaway.

District officials said continuity of care is critical, with many of the district's students possibly going without for the duration of the break.

“For many of our students, school is the stable place for them,” said Vasanne Tinsley, deputy superintendent for student support and intervention. “Often times, we take for granted that students will have food for those two weeks off.”

She mentioned that some students live in “food deserts,” low-income communities that are not within a mile of a grocery store.

“So it’s the type of food they’re eating. Doritos and sodas,” she said.

District officials point to research indicating continuous services reduce the risk for health problems and impaired concentration, among other issues.

“When we talk about ‘wraparound’ services at DeKalb County School District, we are talking about providing opportunities for success by any means necessary,” Superintendent Steve Green said. “Thanks to our School Nutrition Services, students who rely on the district for their daily meals will continue to receive them without interruption. We will continue to support our community, and take education in DeKalb County to new heights.”

Families also can partake in nutrition education training, interactive activities, a backpack giveaway and free vision screenings.

Vision screenings will take place at 9:30 a.m. until noon on Dec. 27 at Stone Mountain Elementary, and on Jan. 3, 2019, at Woodward Elementary.