Serving up summer lunches

Lake Health District’s Outback Strong Summer Lunch Program is poised and ready for kickoff as soon as school gets out for the summer. Lunches will be served all summer long, from Monday, June 11, through Wednesday, August 29.

Lunch time is from noon to 1 p.m. This year, lunches will be served at four sites:

McDonald City Park (the kiddie park)

 

Lions Park (the pool park)

 

Lakeview Commons-North

 

New Pine Creek Rural Fire Hall

 

What is the Outback Strong Summer Lunch Program?

Lake County's summer lunch program is funded primarily through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Summer Food Service Program. In Oregon, this federal program is overseen by the state Department of Education. Sponsors such as Lake Health District are reimbursed for providing free, nutritious meals to kids 18 and younger. The program knows it's not always easy for kids to find healthy meals when school is out of session and that there are many kids who don't have consistent access to food during the summer.

Hunger is a problem in Lake County. Across the county, 1,310 people were food insecure in 2015, meaning they did not always know where their next meal was coming from. That's nearly 17 percent of the total population.

Photo courtesy of SummerFoodOregon.org.

Photo courtesy of SummerFoodOregon.org.

While the Outback Strong Summer Lunch Program seeks to feed hungry kids, it also wants to give kids a fun place to play and hang out with friends. Prevention coordinator Francie Winters and FoodCorps service member Brooke Kelleher are cooking up fun activities for kids. They’ll be helped by four junior park leaders who will help children make crafts, explore nature, play games, and more. Watch our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts for more information about our junior park leaders and the programs they’ll offer. Having help for the programming would not be possible without two grant programs: Oregon Department of Education's Summer Meals and Afterschool Meals and Snacks Program Start-Up/Expansion Grant Program and Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon's Summer Meals Support Fund.

Lake Health District dietary services staff, helped by student interns from Lakeview High School, will serve this year’s delicious meals. Head Start has generously offered the use of its kitchen for lunch preparation. Volunteers will pick up the lunches each day and deliver them to the sites.

We’re still looking for volunteers to help serve meals. Last year, 80 volunteers helped make the Outback Strong Summer Lunch Program a success. This year, with three new sites, even more volunteers are needed to help make sure each kid gets fed. Vicky Taylor has been presenting information about the program around town and soliciting volunteers. Either follow up with her or contact CHIP coordinator Arvinder Singh via email or by calling (425) 999-6345. We would love your help in making this year’s program better than ever!