- Associated Press - Thursday, June 4, 2015

LAVAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - This summer, Food Finders Food Bank expects to serve 26,000 lunches to food-insecure children.

For families who struggle to put food on the table, summer break presents an extra challenge, said Kier Crites-Sherger, director of community impact for Food Finders.

“Unfortunately, a lot of the children are really reliant on the free lunch and free breakfast they receive at their schools. And so when the summer happens, they go without,” Crites-Sherger said. “We’re working to help bridge that gap, at least for the lunch time.”

In the 2014-2015 school year, 35.7 percent of students in Tippecanoe School Corp. and 15.8 percent of students in West Lafayette Community School Corp. received free or reduced lunch, according to Kids Count. In Lafayette School Corp., the need is even greater. This year, 68.8 percent of students qualified for meal assistance.

Each summer, Food Finders runs a free lunch program at more than a dozen sites, including four in Tippecanoe County. The program launched June 1 and will run through Aug. 7. At most sites, Food Finders provides lunch Monday through Friday, although the visits are less frequent at some locations, at the request of the host organizers.

The program - which is open to any child from ages 2 to 18 - targets low-income children by operating in areas with high need, Crites-Sherger said. In addition to serving lunch, Food Finders offers activities to help children learn about healthy eating.

Last year, the Journal & Courier reported that Food Finders proposed ending the summer lunch program at Claystone at the Crossing, a low-income apartment complex, due to tension with apartment management. Crites-Sherger said Food Finders will return to Claystone this year, and staff do not anticipate any problems.

The summer lunch program is in its sixth year. It is partially supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a grant from the ConAgra Foods Foundation. In Lafayette, fresh lunches will be prepared by LSC staff.

This year, Food Finders is launching a pilot mini-farmers market for families in the summer lunch program at Claystone.

“We are really trying to encourage the parent participation, the parents coming and selecting different produce with their kids,” Crites-Sherger said. “We really wanted to push produce this year. … There’s so much available over the summer, and we just know that’s what people want.”

___

Source: (Lafayette) Journal & Courier, http://on.jconline.com/1eEzbwZ

___

Information from: Journal and Courier, http://www.jconline.com

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide