Summer outreach lunch program fed 735 lunches to hungry children

By Lindsay Advocate

Summer outreach lunch program fed 735 lunches to hungry children
Volunteers with bagged lunches.

If it takes a village to raise a child, a town can also come together to help feed kids through the summer months. This is what is happening in Lindsay since summer 2018, where an innovative Summer Outreach Lunch Program is providing healthy bagged lunches to children.

It was brought to the attention of Food Security Working Group of Kawartha Lakes Food Coalition that some elementary aged students in Lindsay get anxious and sad during summer months about not having enough to eat, especially without school lunch/snack programs in place. After confirming with school principals that this anxiety did exist among students, in February 2018, the Working Group moved forward with a plan to create a pilot program for areas of Lindsay deemed to need it.

The Kawartha Lakes Food Coalition, Kawartha Lakes Food Source, The Salvation Army – Lindsay, and Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ride District Health Unit joined efforts in 2018 to design the lunch program. The school principals and teachers were consulted and along with local media and community partners they helped with promotion of the program. After a successful pilot year in 2018, the program completed it’s second year at the end of August.

The Salvation Army and Kawartha Lakes Food Source pooled together to recruit volunteers to prepare and distribute meals. A healthy menu was prepared by the Public Health Dietitian form the Health Unit and a Public Health Inspector provided food safety training to the volunteers.  This year in total, 35 volunteers contributed 420 hours in training, baking, preparing and distributing the lunches. The planning team was overwhelmed by the energy and desire to help that each volunteer had.

From July 3rd – August 30th, volunteers prepared and distributed lunches on Wednesdays and Fridays each week.  On Mondays, volunteers baked healthy treats for the week.  The prepared meals were packed in coolers with ice packs and delivered to pick up sites including Leslie Frost Public School, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, King Albert Public School, and Queen Victoria Public School in Lindsay.

This year the program was also offered in Fenelon Falls and the lunches were distributed at Garnet Graham Beach Park.

Over the course of the summer, there were 1610 lunches made. Of those, 735 were distributed to children at the locations and the remaining lunches were provided to A Place Called Home (homeless shelter). Over the two summers, a total of 1,567 lunches have been provided.

This outreach program would not have been a success without the support of the community and last year’s donation from “100 Women Who Care Kawartha Lakes”.  They provided $17,500 to this program in 2018 and the left-over funds helped the program run this year as well.

Other valuable contributions were made by the community and the Food Security Working Group would like to thank:

Distribution Support: St. Vincent de Paul, OPP Auxiliary, and Community Living

Logistics Support: Home Hardware (Kent Street) provided bags and Curves/Jenny Craig clients provided the coolers

Financial Support: Kawartha Wholesale Bakery provided a discounted rate on whole grain buns, Fresh Fuell provided apples for the lunches, and the many individuals who donated directly to this program.

For more information, to donate or volunteer, please contact Janet Rodin — Community Ministries Coordinator, The Salvation Army — 705-878-5331 ext 2 or Heather Kirby — General Manager, Kawartha Lakes Food Source — 705-324-0707.

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