Food insecurity continues to be a problem nationwide, but once again there is the free Ohio Summer Food Service Program for Delaware’s children.
With Woodward Elementary School under construction, this summer’s venue is the community center of the Second Ward Community Initiative (SWCI) center located at 50-A Ross Street, across from the elementary school.
Lunch is served to children ages 18 and under, including pre-schoolers. Thanks to Delaware’s Andrews House, accompanying parents or guardians also get to eat free of charge. Registration is not necessary. You don’t have to show any papers, and no questions are asked about income, residency or immigration status.
The free service is offered from May 30 through Aug. 11, Monday through Friday, from noon to 1 p.m. Friday customers will receive a backpack with food items for the weekend. The empty backpacks must be returned the following week.
“The meals are the same for every child regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. A limited vegetarian option is available to those requesting it. A typical meal may consist of a hamburger, chicken patty, hot dog, or a Donato’s pizza slice along with vegetables, fresh fruit, or applesauce,” a news release states.
Milk is served as a beverage since this is a USDA-supported program.
Following the nutritional lunches, the children are then treated to activities that teach them educational and social skills.
The Ohio Department of Education also has a hand in the program and uses it to ensure that kids don’t lose their cognitive edge during the summer months. Activities may include arts and crafts, songs, and free books on Thursdays. On the day of a recent visit, children were playing the hokey-pokey in the sunshine and seemed to have great fun.
New this year is the tomato-growing project that uses SWCI’s expanded community garden at South Liberty Street. Kids plant their own tomatoes on June 8 and must take care of them. Harvest day will be celebrated at the grand finale on Friday, Aug. 11.
Volunteer coordinator Carrie Grogan stated that it takes about a dozen or so volunteers to run everything smoothly on a daily basis. She also said that she expects 100 or more children per day once the word is out about the 2017 food-service program.
Organizers thanked the partners and volunteers who are contributing to the continued success of the local Ohio Summer Food Service Program.
“Please help promote the free-meal option that benefits Delaware’s children and strengthens the community.”