Children denied free meals in Dyersburg - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Children denied free meals in Dyersburg

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The line is long outside Westside Baptist Church on Upper Finley Road in Dyersburg on a summer day. The line is long outside Westside Baptist Church on Upper Finley Road in Dyersburg on a summer day.
Federal dollars feed more than 21,000 lunches at 17 different locations in the county. Federal dollars feed more than 21,000 lunches at 17 different locations in the county.
DYERSBURG, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Children and teens in Dyersburg can get a sack lunch and a container of milk for the next eight weeks at various locations in the city and county. But leaders said there is one city department who is trying to stop these lunches from the housing projects – saying it is a liability to feed the children there.

The line is long outside Westside Baptist Church on Upper Finley Road in Dyersburg on a summer day. Children and teens lined up here to get a healthy lunch and a cold carton of milk.

"It's more than a meal ... For some, this is all they're gonna get," said resident William Taylor.

The meals are part of an eight week program through the Dyer County Agriculture Extension office.

Federal dollars feed more than 21,000 lunches at 17 different locations in the county.

Now, at least one city leader said Dyersburg's Housing Authority President is preventing the children who live in projects from getting these meals near the home.

"We're gonna have to sit down and see what we can come up with to make sure these kids are fed every day," said Dyersburg City Alderman Robert Taylor.

Robert Taylor said housing authority president Paula Ledford is refusing to allow some kids to be fed because it is, in her words, a liability.

"There has to be some reason she's saying it and that's what we need to find out," said Robert Taylor.

Grandparent Tina Jones understands the liability issue.

"The kids being outside ... they need a building," said Jones.

Jones has eight grandchildren living in the Gardner Heights community. She hopes the city will allow the kids to use a community center to eat during the day.

"It makes me sad to see them out there like that because some days it [will] be so hot, and there's no shade for them, no where for them to eat," said Jones.

Action News 5 talked to Dyersburg Housing Authority Paula Ledford for her reaction. She said she will have a response to the claims Tuesday.

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