The Hilliard Free Lunch Summer Camp for Kids program, an outreach of Serving Our Neighbors Ministries, soon will begin serving lunches and providing recreation for underprivileged children in the Hilliard school district.

The Hilliard Free Lunch Summer Camp for Kids program, an outreach of Serving Our Neighbors Ministries, soon will begin serving lunches and providing recreation for underprivileged children in the Hilliard school district.

The program will run Monday through Friday from June 10 to Aug. 9, except for July 4 and 5.

Children eligible for free or reduced-price lunches also are eligible for the summer program, which is in its seventh year.

Kim Emch, executive director of Serving Our Neighbors Ministries, is a member of Upper Arlington Lutheran Church and led the effort to establish the program.

Emch helped establish the program in 2007 after learning the U.S. Department of Agriculture provided grants for free lunch programs so long as a community provided a location and staffing.

"There were (Hilliard) students who depended on a free or reduced-price lunch during the school year, so it was logical to believe that it would be lacking for them in the summer," Emch said.

About 3,500 children in Hilliard schools qualified for a free or reduced-price lunch this year, Emch said, adding that too few people realize the issue.

The program will have three host sites this year: the Hilliard Church of Christ, 4300 Avery Road; Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church, 3500 Main St.; and for the first time, a school building, J.W. Reason Elementary School, 4790 Cemetery Road.

Two building principals "with a big heart for children" asked if Serving Our Neighbors Ministries would consider a summer lunch program site at a school, Emch said.

A meeting with Assistant Superintendent Tim Hamilton resulted in J.W. Reason hosting a site, Emch said.

"One of the biggest problems we have is locating in places where the children who are in need can get to us," Emch said. "We can have the best program but it won't matter if they can't get to us.

"We are always looking for multiple sites in strategic places ... and J.W. Reason will be a great site for us."

Parents and guardians must register children for the program, either at one of the three sites on June 10 or in advance from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Monday, June 3, at Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church and from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 4, at Hilliard Church of Christ.

Registration to attend the program at J.W. Reason Elementary School will be accepted at both locations.

Online registration is not available

Lunch program hours are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hilliard Church of Christ, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church and from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at J.W. Reason Elementary School.

Emch said at least 20 volunteers are needed each day, in addition to interns and paid staff.

"But it's so much more than just providing a meal," Emch said. "We make it fun for kids, too. It's not just about getting something to eat; they also come here to have fun and to be cared for."

For more information about internships and volunteer opportunities, visit son-ministries.org.