While most kids are excited about their summer vacation, for some it means going hungry because they can no longer take advantage of the free breakfast and lunch programs offered at school.
To help combat childhood hunger, the Groveport Madison Center for Human Needs is offering a Summer Food Service Program; it started June 9 and will run through Aug. 8 for children ages 1 through 18.
Meals are served from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the following locations:
* Groveport Madison Junior High, 751 Main St.
* Groveport Madison Middle School North, 5474 Sedalia Drive.
* Independence Village Park (shelter house), 3075 Arrowsmith Drive.
* New Beginnings Christian Center, 3424 Hamilton Road.
* Three Rivers Villas and Townhomes rental office, 2800 Booty Drive, Columbus.
The program is free and does not require any paperwork or other approval process, according to organizer Steve Shirley.
"Groveport Madison has over 70 percent of their students on free and/or reduced-price lunch programs," Shirley said. "The Summer Food Service Program will help provide those children with a meal during the summer who otherwise may go without. I'm just sorry this program is not eligible to serve the adults as well."
According to Shirley, the program served more than 7,100 meals in 2013 and he's hoping it will reach even more this summer. However, volunteers are needed in order to achieve that goal, he said.
"The program is successful only because of the volunteers that assist in serving the lunches and visit with the children each day they come for lunch, and this year is no different," he said. "Volunteers are needed for all of the sites, and can work just one day or as many as all five days."
Volunteers are needed at each site from 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. to prepare and serve the food and to clean up afterward. Anyone interested in helping should call Shirley at 614-835-0251 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This program is a partnership among the Center for Human Needs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Ohio State University Department of Education.