Seventy percent of the students who attend the Lebanon school district qualify for the government's reduced-cost lunch program. But what do those students do for a lunch-time meal over the summer months, when school is not in session and a lot of their parents are off working?
Introducing Lebanon County Christian Ministry's summer food program!
That idea was the driving force behind the inception of LCCM's summer food program in 2005. Fast-forward to the present, and eight years later the program has evolved into so much more.
In 2011, during the months of June, July and August, LCCM's summer food program delivered a nutritiously balanced meal to approxiametely 15,000 children up to the age of 18. That number represents a 94 percent increase in the number of meals provided since the program's inaugural year of 2005.
Click here for the 2016 SUMMER FOOD CHEDULE
For those counting at home, that's a total of about 75,000 lunches.
"I would think it's got to max out sooner or later," said Wenda Dinatale, who oversees the program as part of her responsibilites as LCCM's client services manager. "There were some sites not getting the attendance, so we had to shut them down. But who would've dreamed that the numbers would've gone from a couple of thousand meals to 15,000 meals being prepared?"
The bag lunches are prepared at LCCM's kitchen facility by adult and youth volunteers and then transported to sites - mostly playgrounds and the Lebanon Valley Family YMCA - in and around the city of Lebanon. At most sites, youth participants are not required to enroll for the program.
"Realizing there was a need, the director (Troy Williams) sought avenues to fill it. That was the beginning of the program," said Dinatale. "We physically try to meet the kids where they're at. I think it's just an example of LCCM striving to fill an unmeet need."
What follows is a wish list of needed supplies for LCCM's summer food program:
*Please note we purchase all of our paper products locally to support our local economy.
We are currently seeking volunteers for this program. We are looking for drivers and prep team volunteers. Drivers will require about an hour of your time during the day . Prep Team volunteers we ask for at least a one week commitment and typically volunteers hours for this job are 9am-12pm.
If you have any questions please contact Wenda Dinatale at 717-272-4400 ext 212.