Summer Meals, Success, and a New Partnership with the United Way
In 1968, the Summer Food Service Program began as an amendment to the National School Lunch Act, providing meals to children across the summer and filling in the “nutritional gap” that many children would otherwise experience. Forty-eight years later, the program “plans to serve more than 200 million free meals to children 18 years and under” across the summer, according to the U.S. Food and Nutrition Service’s website.
The United Way of Oxford County recently became the local sponsor of the program, often called “Summer Meals.” Year one of this new partnership was a success! About 50 to 70 children were being fed daily across the summer at meal sites at Moore Park in South Paris, the Alan Day Community Garden in Norway, and the Oxford Pines Regency in Oxford.
Strong community support helped to make this summer’s program a success. Important donations came from the Oxford Casino, Oxford Hills Rotary Club, Kate Herlihy’s Zumba Class, Pam DeCoteau, and several other community members. Thank you to the volunteers from the Oxford Casino, New Balance, Healthy Oxford Hills, and the Alan Day Community Garden youth group who volunteered to serve meals to children! Thank you to the individuals who took time out of their days to volunteer: Donna Landry, Deborah Jervis, Barbara Willet, Zoey Britton, Naomi Britton, Emily Blackshaw, Kate Goldberg, Heather Carver, Lisa Lazinsky, Sheila Reardon, Pam DeCoteau, Lauren Ruby, Kylie Ruby, Darleen Bevans, Zoe Bevans, Robert Gracie, Carrie Andrews, Auntie Jane, Lacey and Jayden! A huge thank you goes to the South Paris Baptist Church for allowing us to use their kitchen to make the meals. Thanks to Jodi Truman and Robyn Sessions at Oxford Hills High School for helping the Summer Meals program to order and store food. Thank you all for your commitment! You’ve shown a powerful love for our community.
We can see continued success with the Summer Meals program in Oxford County. To make this program great, it needs to be a community effort. All of the kids served by the program are all of our kids. Planning for the summer of 2017 will begin this winter. If you want to be a part of growing this program, please email Maisey Griffin at email@example.com or the United Way of Oxford County at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maisey Griffin is an Americorps VISTA (Volunteer In Service To America) doing county-wide work to address hunger. She works at Healthy Oxford Hills, your local Healthy Community Coalition and a project of Stephens Memorial Hospital. Contact Maisey at email@example.com.
Reprinted with the permission of the Advertiser Democrat