Over 40% of the children in our community are a part of the free or reduced lunch program. These children are able to partake in breakfast and lunch at school during the school year. However, the summer is a different story. For many, the summer means hungry bellies. While there is a program that happens in the city park during the summer that feeds lunch to kids, there is a large population of children who live out in the county, too far to walk to the park and unable to find transport to the park. That's where Soup for the Soul comes in.
For the past two summers, volunteers have packaged bags full of shelf-stable, healthy foods that are then delivered, also by volunteers, to these children. Twice per week, children are given a food bag, and once a week, that food bag is accompanied by an age-appropriate book. Foods that we give to the children do not require refrigeration. They are easy for the children to open and prepare for themselves, if needed. Each bag contains about 2.5 FDA-approved meals.
The first year of this program, food was delivered to about 75 students who were identified by our local Family Resource Centers. The 2nd year, we were able to deliver to 125 children. Knowing that 400 children in our county are eligible, it is our goal to continue to expand this program until all 400 are served. In order to do this, our Board of Directors has a goal to hire a staff member to oversee this program, as well as assist our current kitchen manager.
Of course, more staff and more food means we need more money. If you would like to partner with us on this very important program, click on the DONATE link above. To volunteer, contact Jennifer Riley at 270.227.7739.