Town Crier Articles

Hunger in Our Community – Providing Summer Meals for Kids
Posted on June 1, 2024 6:45 AM by Scott Ellis
Categories: General
 
Six years ago, churches and other organizations in the James City County, Williamsburg and Bruton district of York county came together, along with the Williamsburg Area Meals on Wheels and the Lions Club, to find a way to prepare and deliver lunches to school age children in the summer when those kids were not able to receive the free lunches provided while schools are in session.  Per Catherine S. Upton, CEO of Williamsburg Area Meals on Wheels, 
 
“Summer break, a time that should be filled with laughter, joy and exploration, poses a significant challenge for numerous vulnerable children and their families. For many of these young children, school provides a lifeline – a source of nutrition and stability that is abruptly severed when the final bell rings. Sadly, this interruption leaves them vulnerable to hunger, malnutrition, and its devastating consequences.” 
                       
Last summer, volunteers from eleven local churches, a William and Mary fraternity and several faith-based organizations met daily at Williamsburg Indoor Soccer Complex (WISC) in the Good Food Provisions Cafe to prepare meals for delivery to approximately 300 children each Monday through Friday. Volunteers gather to make sandwiches and package them along with individual juice boxes, pudding cups, applesauce and treats such as granola bars, crackers, chips and home baked cookies or brownies (no nuts permitted). Once the meals are packed, volunteers from the local area Lions Club deliver the meals to local apartment complexes and hotels where kids in need and their families live. 
 
Fast forward to June 17, 2024. The number of kids signed up to be a part of this year's
Summer Meals program has increased to  468! Obviously, this means much more donation of food and funds as well as more volunteers are needed to help prepare the sandwiches and pack lunches. My wife and I have several friends who have volunteered the past few years to help prepare the lunches and were so moved by the community's generosity of time and funding that we felt compelled to join them this summer. We look forward to gathering with folks we may or may not know but have a common goal – making sure kids have a lunch every weekday! 
 
The approximate cost for one meal is between $1.80 and $2.20. Sandwich items (bread, meat, cheese, mayo and when available fresh fruits) are sourced through Meals on Wheels. Other food items are donated, and several churches hold food drives specifically for these items. Funding for the same 300 kids as last year will require approximately $33,000 and for 468 kids the amount increases to just over $51,000. All funding is through donations and fundraising drives by the local churches and the local Meals on Wheels. Food costs can be reduced if enough donations are received in the form of individual drink boxes, snacks, etc.
 
If you are interested in making food donations there are several churches holding food drives over the coming weeks. They are: 
  • King of Glory Lutheran ChurchSunday June 2 - 7:30a.m. – 12:00 noon
    4897 Longhill Rd. Williamsburg 23188
  • St. Martins Episcopal Church – Sunday June 16 - 7:30a.m. - 11:30a.m. 
    1333 Jamestown Road, Williamsburg 23185
  • Williamsburg United Methodist Church - Sunday July 14 - 8:00a.m. - 12:00 noon
    500 Jamestown Rd. Williamsburg 23185
    Williamsburg Community Chapel – Every day through August 16th
    3899 John Tyler Hwy. Williamsburg 23185
  • DayBreak Church – Daily throughout the summer
    Call – 757-725-1691
If you are interested in helping ensure kids in our schools have a nutritional lunch every weekday this summer, you can help by donating funds through www.williamsburgmealsonwheels.com or by mailing checks to: Williamsburg Area Meals on Wheels, P.O. Box 709, Williamsburg VA 23187. 
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