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Beaufort County School District food truck feeds children for free this summer

BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) - School is officially out in the Lowcountry, but the Beaufort County School District wants to make sure no child goes hungry.

That's why they've started a new program providing free lunch to neighborhood children. 

"Hey, guys! Ya hungry? I got something to feed your bellies!" Service Worker Jovanna Griffin shouted from the 'Lowcountry Cruzer,' the district's new food truck dishing out free meals for children this summer.

"I got some food, it's really good. It's a hot dog, some oranges, and some beans," a young girl named Ella told News 3.

Sixty percent of the district is on free and reduced lunch during the year. This program is an extension funded by the South Carolina Department of Agriculture. 

"We want them to be able to learn and develop over the summer and good nutrition goes into being able to learn and do their best," said the program coordinator, Jessica Perez. "We picked the highest need areas, so every site we have is what's in a community eligible area during the school year, so that means 100 percent of those students eat all school year round for free."

The truck stops at the St. Helena, Beaufort and Lobeco libraries Monday through Friday, hoping to encourage children to pick up some grub and grab a book too. 

Libraries in the Lowcountry see hundreds of kids a day for various summer programs and recreational reading. By the end of summer, libraries in Beaufort County together get up to 4,000 kids a day. 

"Having the food trucks come here, brings in a whole different population of kids that really need those meals, that haven't been to the library, so they get belly food and brain food," said Madeline Helser-Howard, the branch manager at the Lobeco library.

Shawquetta Smalls brought her kids to the library Wednesday to make sure they keep reading over the summer. 

"I love the fact that they offer an opportunity for the children to not only come here and have access to all these amazing books for free, but as well as the meal, and that helps out a lot with parents," Smalls said.

Meals are free to all children. The food truck stops at St. Helena library at 10:45 a.m., the Beaufort library at noon and Lobeco library at 1:30 p.m.

It is scheduled to run until July 20 but may be extended based on demand. 

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