EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – Gilmer Schools Nutrition Coordinator Daphnie Hice has hit the ground running in filling in for the Director position as she updates and continues many of the programs started and made successful by the school system’s nutrition department and under the previous guidance of Linda Waters, programs like Seamless Summer feeding.
This week, Hice informed the Board of Education about the school systems return to normal operations with its Seamless Summer program. The program has been ongoing over summer months for several years. However, last year saw a much different program due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Hice spoke this week of the programs return to static locations and a new addition as the program continues to grow.
That new addition is the Bobcat Café “On the Prowl.” Hice stated that the bus will be at the Lakeside Village mobile home park.
Hice noted that in the outbreak last year, the school system delivered 9,680 breakfasts and 10,730 lunches in June and July of 2020. This year, the return to static locations include 7 sites including the Gilmer Health Department, Tower Road, the First United Methodist Church, Boys and Girls Club, and Mulberry Street Apartments.
Lottie Mitchell said that the Bobcat Café is a repurposed school bus that will become multipurpose as it operates in the school year as the PAWS for Learning bus. A mobile learning lab for preschoolers, the PAWS for Learning bus will aid students with literacy supplies from the L4GA grant. Mitchell also noted that the bus will partner with Gilmer High School and its Early Childhood Education program. Students in that program during 2021-2022 can participate in the program to interact with community preschoolers not enrolled in a preschool.
During the summer, the Bobcat Café “on the Prowl” will see the interior of the bus shift as staff will swap out magnetic signs on the bus and redecorate the interior to better suit the Seamless Summer program. It will also be to fund the mobile program providing a summer package for enrichment on Tuesdays and Thursday for two hours before lunch. Mitchell said that some sites have volunteers that already host enrichment programs, so they are looking to do this program before them so that the activities will end with lunch and the site volunteers.
Continuing the summer program, Hice said that the Gilmer High School location of Seamless Summer will serve both breakfast and lunch, but the other locations will have breakfast pre-packaged in the lunches for the following morning.
Feeding thousands of meals every year, Seamless Summer has become a very large part of the Gilmer School System’s summer schedule. Having plans in place aided in the system’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak last year as plans for delivering work and education packets for grade levels without tablets was able to merge with plans to shift the Seamless Summer program from static sites to deliveries on the buses.
Now, the cooperation is continuing as separate areas or departments of the school system are continuing cooperation to enhance and upgrade programs like Seamless Summer where possible.