Cathy Dyson writes about King George County.
Summer Lunch Bunch almost tripling efforts
NOTE: The Summer Lunch Bunch will deliver lunches on Tuesdays and Fridays in summer 2012. Incorrect information was given to the reporter for an earlier version of the story.
Volunteers from churches and community groups in King George County are almost tripling their efforts to provide lunches for children when school is out.
From June 19 through Aug. 31, the Summer Lunch Bunch will deliver lunches throughout the county two days a week—twice as many as last year.
Because of additional volunteers, supplies and donations, the group expects to provide about 3,300 lunches this summer, compared to 1,300 last summer, said volunteer Sandy Nesselrode.
“We are thankful for the tremendous support we have received from other churches and the community,” she said.
Workers with Dahlgren United Methodist Church started the summertime feeding program in 2009, after Julie Boucher, a church member and first-grade teacher at Potomac Elementary School, noticed a child crying on the last day of school.
When Boucher asked the boy why he was upset, he said he didn’t want to be home all summer—without the free breakfasts and lunches he got at school.
“This is not right,” Boucher said at the time, wondering how many kids faced a summer without regular meals.
More than one-third of the county’s elementary students qualify for free or reduced-price meals, according to county records.
Volunteers from Peace Lutheran Church joined those at Dahlgren last summer to expand the program. Sponsors have made even more additions for this year, Nesselrode said.
Groups, individuals and churches have donated money, food and supplies, such as paper lunch bags, plastic bags, hair nets, gloves and plastic aprons.
Donations have come from throughout the Fredericksburg area, Nesselrode said.
As a result, volunteers will hand out bagged lunches on Tuesdays and Fridays. Kids usually get a choice of ham, turkey or the perennial favorite, peanut butter and jelly.
Lunches will be delivered between 10:45 and 11:45 a.m. at the following locations:
- Dahlgren: Heritage Court and Hillcrest Motel on U.S. 301, Fence Road and Relax Inn Motel and Chestnut Hill Trailer Park, Palona Circle area.
- King George: Inaugural Drive at State Route 3, Princess Anne/Pineview Trailer Park in the Ridge Road area and McDaniel’s Trailer Park, State Route 610.
- Sealston: Oakland Drive at Oakland Park, Shore Store at 5435 Pavilion Drive at Fairview Beach and Stanley Road townhouses off Route 3.
The program has grown to include volunteers from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Two Rivers Baptist Church, Trinity United Methodist Church, the King George YMCA and King George County Extension Office.
King George Farmers Market has offered excess vegetables for the families of children receiving lunches. Summer Lunch Bunch volunteers will be at the market on Saturday mornings to get the items and hand out information about their program.
The volunteers also are asking for donations of new or gently used books to give children so they can continue reading in the summer.
More information about the program is available at summerlunchbunch.com, by calling 540/775-9622, ext. 3023 or by email at email@example.com.
At 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 9, Peace Lutheran Church in King George County will present a session about the Summer Lunch Program. Anyone interested in learning about the project, from food-safety training to volunteering, is welcome to attend.
Peace Lutheran is at 5590 Kings Highway, off State Route 3 just past the Hopyard Farm development.
Those interested can register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.