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Snackless afternoons in some after school programs

7:10 PM, Oct 4, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A city-operated after school program is no longer able to provide snacks to children following a new state regulation regarding food handling.

Fifteen community centers in the city that accommodate hundreds of children no longer are handing out snacks.

"Just think: from 11 o'clock to six o'clock not going to have anything to eat," said Shelia Gunn, whose daughter attends the after school program at Henry T. Jones Community Center.

The City of Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department is in charge of the program that offers children recreation, homework help and bonus activities.

Tera Meeks, speaking for the city, said a change in state regulations now requires the city to have a food distribution permit to hand out snacks.

She said Second Harvest provides the snacks, but since the start of this school year, none have been handed out because changes need to be made in kitchens.

Most of the changes, Meeks said, are minor and revolve around sinks. The city is planning to make updates so snacks can once again be part of the after school program.

Gunn is one mom who is waiting for children to get some snacks following a long day at school.

"They really need to have something to eat to nourish their minds while doing homework," said Gunn, who said she packs a snack for her daughter.

The city has not yet tabulated the cost or how long it will take to make the necessary changes in the kitchen. 

First Coast News

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