by Lisa Tome
Millicent Bailey closes her office for an hour a day from late June until August.
Bailey, manager of North Bay Apartments in North East, spends that hour feeding hungry kids.
For the second year, North Bay has signed on as a site for the Cecil County Public Schools Summer Food Service Program.
"We have children from all over, not just here. They come from the neighboring properties. We welcome everybody and we get a good turnout," said Bailey. "I love it. If I see kids walking, I tell them to come on in."
Shantelle Beverly, who also works at North Bay Apartments, picks up the food from the schools. One day last week, the menu included grilled cheese sandwiches, milk, juice, applesauce, and raisins.
Four days a week, it's a hot meal. On Fridays, they serve cold sandwiches.
Last year, North Bay Apartments offered food at breakfast and lunch. Bailey said they scaled back. "Last year we found that the children sleep in," she said.
So far this summer, they've fed children ages 2-17. Adults have also eaten there. Adults may pay $3.50 per person for the meals. "We ran out yesterday," said Bailey.
Nasirah Peters, 13, is earning school system required service hours by helping with the meals. "At home, I cook dinner. I like helping others. There's nothing to do at my house," said Peters.
Keyaira Thompson is the mother of two boys, ages seven and three. "They come here, they eat lunch, then they take naps. I work overnight and this is helpful for me. It helps a lot because I don't get state assistance," said Thompson.
Josh Osborne brought his 10-year-old niece to the lunch. His niece lives with Josh's mother. "She comes here everyday. It's a great place to go. I came here and ate with her yesterday. It saves money and it's a good meal," said Osborne. "If it was me, I'd let her eat cereal or McDonald's. I'd rather her get a healthy meal and socialize."
Bailey, Beverly, and others at North Bay have also worked to expand the experience even though sites aren't required to do so. There is a free lending library in the North Bay office. Staff reads to or with the children. "We get them to read a book and the Bookmobile comes. We help them with reading," said Bailey.
The following sites are serving up food this summer Monday through Friday:
• Windsor Village, 303 Friendship Road, Elkton, serving June 20-August 19 breakfast 9:30-10 a.m./lunch 11:30-noon
• Concord Apartments Mill Creek Road, building 1600, Perryville, serving June 20-August 19 breakfast 8:30-a.m./lunch 11:30-noon
• Gardens at Chesapeake 1000 Abbott Drive, Elkton, serving June 20 - August 19 lunch 12:30-1 p.m.
• Gilpin Manor Elementary serving through July 28 breakfast 9-9:30 a.m./lunch 11:45-12:15
• Holly Hall Elementary serving through July 28 breakfast 9-9:30 a.m./lunch 11:45-12:15
• North Bay Apartments Cedar Hill Circle, North East, serving through August 19 lunch noon until 1 p.m.
• North East Elementary Thomas Avenue, North East, through July 28 breakfast 9:15-10:15/lunch noon until 1 p.m.
• Perryville Police Department Outreach, Otsego Street, Perryville serving lunch through August 19 12:30 until 1 p.m.
• Riverwoods at North East, 1000 Riverwoods Road, serving lunch noon until 1 p.m. through August 19
• Rudy Park 101 Rudy Park, Elkton, serving breakfast and lunch through August 19 breakfast 8:30-9 a.m./lunch 12:30 - 1 p.m.
• Thomson Estates Elementary serving breakfast and lunch through July 28 breakfast 9:15-10:15/lunch noon until 1 p.m.
• North East Middle School, East Cecil Avenue serving through August 19 breakfast 8:15-8:45 a.m./lunch 11:15 - 12:15.