For the third year in a row, I helped with the Summer Meal Program Neighbors facilitates.
Until Neighbors’ staff explained to me that because kids are not in school during the Summer months and many of them are likely to miss a meal (or more) due to the lack of a free or reduced school meal program, I never would have thought about it!
Of course it makes sense now, but how many of us take the time to think about the negative effects of Summer vacation? Aren’t we more focused on our own Summer vacation plans? I love that this program directly helps those kids. Plus, it’s fun to spend a morning wearing a hairnet or paper hat and plastic gloves, preparing and serving food in a school cafeteria (don’t get me started on the waves of nostalgia that came back to me just walking into a school cafeteria.)
Last week, I served breakfast, there were over 230 kids in middle & high school who came in for a delicious, hot meal. 230 plus kids. For breakfast. At 8:30 in the morning. That amazes me! When I was a pre-teen / teen, I don’t think I rolled out of bed until at least 10 a.m. I thank God that someone had the idea to create this program and for all of the school staff and volunteers that make it run because I can’t imagine how different Summer vacation would be for those kids if they were hungry instead.
So next time you’re looking for something different to do in the Summer – consider volunteering for the Neighbors’ Summer Meal Program. Not only is it a rewarding experience, but they might just let you taste some cafeteria food, too! (For old time’s sake.)
Thanks to the volunteers from the St. Paul Hotel for helping out with Neighbors’ Summer Meal Program. -Heidi Satre