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Summer Food Program for Kids Halted

By Erica Williams
By ewilliams@wbbjtv.com

DYERSBURG, Tenn- Hundreds of kids in the Dyersburg School District, eligible for free or reduced lunches, may go without this summer if a federal funded program cannot find a location to feed them.

Federal guidelines require food from the program to be distributed and eaten on-site; but with no location available, volunteers said that children from two housing projects may not be able to receive food.

"Some of them, if they don't get this meal, will go the whole day without eating," said Robert Taylor, a city alderman.

William Taylor, who leads the program, said housing authority officials will not allow them to distribute food on-site, as federal guidelines require, due to liability issues.

"If it's a program for kids to eat, it seems like the city would step in to give them a place to sit," said Jeffrey Gardner, a housing resident.

Taylor said he has been told by Paula Ledford, the Director of the Dyersburg Housing Authority, that due to construction on the premises they are not allowed to set up; but he said he has yet to see any work being done.

Volunteers have a temporary out-side location at Westside Baptist Church, near the housing communities; but they said that could soon come to an end.

Ledford declined comment today but said they are preparing a statement to release on Tuesday.