Parish officials serve free lunch

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 26, 2010



LAPLACE – Fitted with gloves, aprons and kitchen utensils, St. John Parish President Natalie Robottom and members of her administration served food to children and adults at Emily C. Watkins Elementary Wednesday to raise awareness of the parish’s annual summer feeding program.

Serving food along with Robottom were Chief Administrative Officer Marie Brown-Mercadel, special assistants Angelic Sutherland and Pat McTopy, Health and Human Services Director Elois Joseph, Human Resources Director Stacey Cador, Emergency Operations Director Paul Oncale, Economic Development Director Julia Remondet and Recreation Director Errol Manuel.

“The majority of my professional career has been spent working with and serving the children of St. John Parish,” Robottom said in a statement. “It is a pleasure to interact with and serve our youth.”

Joseph said the parish has operated a free feeding program, for children under 18 and adults with special needs, for the past 22 years. She said the program is open to any child residing in St. John Parish. The program also serves children participating in local summer camps, Joseph said.

“School buses go down the major streets in the parish to pick up kids and bring them to the nearest participating location,” Joseph said. “We typically serve about 2,000 a day, but the first week alone, we have served more than 8,000.”

Joseph said funding for the meals is provided through the United States Department of Agriculture and the Louisiana Department of Education.

Meals are available Monday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at five public school cafeterias throughout the parish, including Emily C. Watkins, East St. John Elementary, Leon Godchaux, Garyville/Mt. Airy Magnet, and West St. John High. The summer feeding program will end on July 22.