Local children can enjoy a hot meal and have some fun thanks to Gahanna Residents In Need's summer lunch program that kicks off Tuesday, May 29, and continues through Aug. 10.

"The summer lunch program is going to be wonderful, with speakers from the community every week, family prizes every Friday and fresh produce throughout the entire summer," said Brenda Johnston, executive director of Gahanna Residents In Need. "The summer lunches are important, because it may be a child or family's only hot meal for the day."

She said the children will enjoy fresh produce that comes from local food markets and individual donations.

Food shortages are real for some families in Gahanna, and GRIN hopes to bridge the gap during the summer months when school is out, Johnston said.

Every Friday, GRIN will provide extra food for participants to take home so they get through the weekends, and they are always welcome to come to the pantries, Johnston said.

Pantries are open at GRIN's headquarters at 165 Granville St. in Gahanna from 10 a.m. to noon every Wednesday; from 6 to 8 p.m. the first and third Tuesdays of the month; and from 9 to 11 a.m. the first and third Saturdays of the month.

Beth Bentley, GRIN's summer lunch program director, said the requirement for participation in the lunch program is residency in the Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools boundaries.

Families are required to bring photo identification and proof of residency the first time they check in.

Paid child-care providers do not qualify.

She said serving times are new this year, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding July 4, when the program is closed for the holiday.

Lunches will be provided at Chapelfield Elementary School, 280 Chapelfield Road, and Goshen Lane Elementary School, 370 Goshen Lane.

Bentley said GRIN served 3,803 meals last summer through the lunch program, averaging about 50 people per location per week.

The scheduled speakers will include but are not limited to representatives from the Gahanna Division of Police Department, Mifflin Township Division of Fire, Robyn Luke of Real Deal Meals, the Gahanna Area Arts Council and the Gahanna branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.

Activities will include but are not limited to storytimes, water balloons and games, expressions of art in different formats and exercising.

Bentley said GRIN is thankful for community support in providing for this opportunity.

Anyone with questions about the lunch program can contact Bentley at pd4grin@gmail.com.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla