Bay District Schools partners with non-profit to expand summer meal programs

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. —  While Bay District School’s summer meal program covers two meals of the day, a non-profit organization is jumping in to help even more.

Mercy Chefs and the district are teaming up to offer another way to keep students fed. 

“I asked them if they could possibly think about covering dinner on the weekends because those would be very underserved times in our community,” said Sharon Michalik, Bay District Spokesperson.

This program is for more than just the ones inside a classroom.

“Entire families are welcome. Anyone can come with their bay district student,” said Michalik. 

Michalik says the program will offer more than a good meal. “Also hoping to locate some services there as well so if families are interested in finding out about counseling help or anything like that for their students, that they would be able to find some resources while they’re having dinner.” 

Mercy Chefs founder says with the generosity of the district, they, too, are adding more to the menu at Oscar Patterson Elementary. 

“We’re converting classrooms into bunkhouses so mission teams have an affordable place to stay, skilled construction teams that are down here volunteering have an affordable place to stay,” said Gary LeBlanc, Mercy Chefs Founder and President. 

He says they will be able to house about 100 volunteers at a time.

LeBlanc says he knows how much a full stomach can do the body and the mind some good.

“Something amazing happens over a shared meal and to have a family be able to sit down together is really important to us but we know it’s really important to the recovery,” said LeBlanc. 

The dinners will begin on Tuesday, June 4th and will continue through the summer.

They will be distributed from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday at Oscar Patterson Elementary. 

Mercy Chefs is also in need of volunteers. If you’re interested or want to find out more about the organization, click here

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