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Queen Victoria Public School is one of four locations where families can access a free, nutritious lunch for their kids two days a week. Photo: Erin Smith.

Free lunches for kids for nine weeks as summer pilot begins

in Around Town/Community/Poverty Reduction by

It was a great start to the Summer Outreach Lunch Program yesterday, although even higher numbers are expected once the word gets out about available free lunches for kids.

Nearly 20 elementary age school kids showed up at one of the four locations involved in the pilot. Free lunches are served between 11:30 am – 1:00 pm at St. Mary Catholic Elementary School, Queen Victoria School, Housing Help (Lindsay and Glenelg streets), and Kawartha Lakes Food Source on Wednesdays and Fridays during the summer break.

Heather Kirby, general manager, KLFS.

Heather Kirby, general manager of Kawartha Food Source, says “it was a very successful day.” The food preparation, assembly and distribution all went well and volunteers were very comfortable.

About one fifth of the projected children who need lunches showed up for the first day. The key will be getting the word out, so that more children will come to get their healthy lunch. The program runs from July 4 until Aug 31 for a total of nine weeks.

Kirby says that although they are targeting these elementary schools for distribution, “no questions will be asked and any child that wants a lunch can get a lunch.”

Support can be made through a donation of cash, grocery store gift cards, or food items (as listed below). A taxable receipt will be issued for any financial donation over $10. Donations can be dropped off at Kawartha Lakes Food Source on 41 George Street West or The Salvation Army at  30 Peel Street in Lindsay. All donations of food should be dropped off on Monday or Tuesday before 4 pm to give volunteers enough time to prepare the lunches.

To donate to the program, gifts of grocery food cards, cash, and food items are appreciated.

The Food Security Working Group, a committee of the Kawartha Lakes Food Coalition, decided to start this pilot project in the Lindsay area to fill a gap for students that often use the school lunch and snack programs.

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Joli Scheidler-Benns is a PhD candidate in Health Policy and Equity at York University. She is a sessional professor for UOIT's Faculty of Education. She serves in a Research, Strategy, and Community Development role for The Lindsay Advocate while also serving as a Writer-at-Large.

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