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Summer lunch program helps keep children fed
Updated

Hunger never goes on summer vacation. 

And that’s why the Troy City Schools food service team, along with the generosity of the community and help from volunteers, does what it can to make sure students who need a meal during the summer are able to find one. 

Once again, the district’s food service team is serving free lunches at various locations in Troy this summer. 

“We know every child comes from a different background or situation so our goal is to help parents and children in any way we can,” Troy City Schools Food Service Director Clint Hufford said. “That is what makes this program great, these meals are for all Troy kids, regardless of free, reduced, or paying status during the school year. We see the hunger of certain students during the school year and the thought of them going without a guaranteed meal during the summer is heartbreaking. Having plenty of food is a luxury for a lot of people, but there is certainly a need in our community and for our children.”

The free lunch program, which began June 10 and runs through Aug. 9, is available to anyone 18 and under, regardless of what school they attend. Every Monday through Friday, volunteers serve lunches at the Lincoln Community Center (11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m..), Troy Rec (noon to 1 p.m.) and Garden Manor Community Room/Clubhouse (12:30-1 p.m.).  (All sites will be closed Thursday, July 4).

The program serves about 300 meals per day, five days per week. 

“We serve mostly hot food, since that is what the kids enjoy most, but we also serve different deli sandwiches or peanut butter and jelly,” Hufford said. “We also serve a lot of different hot and cold vegetables and various kinds of fruit. We put popular items on the menu that we know the kids will eat, while also menuing new items in hopes of encouraging them to try new things.”

All of the food is prepared at Troy High School, then sent out to the sites around Troy. Hufford said he is blessed to have hard-working staff members preparing and delivering the meals.

“Our program has four employees who lead the operation: Kate Kurmas, Erin Sizemore, Olivia Hughes, and Janel Latif,” Hufford said. “One or two of them work daily, and then we have an additional volunteer or two helping each day, for a total of three people each day. We have  various volunteers who sign-up to help through the summer. We have a mother/daughter team who rotate on picking up and delivering the meals to the sites, mom Jessica Ross and daughter Peyton Dunn. 

“We have four Troy Food Service staff members who do a fantastic job of cooking and preparing meals with the help of so many great community volunteers. Without the staff and volunteers, this program wouldn't be able to exist. Those three staff members and volunteers take such pride in the meals they provide to our children while having fun in the process. From the minute they get here, they are working diligently to ensure the food they provide is healthy and of great quality.”

All of the meals are free to children thanks to the generosity of sponsors within the community.  

“The Summer Feeding Program is a team effort with so many great partnerships that help make this a success every summer,” Hufford said. “First and foremost, the Troy Foundation. Their generosity to fund this program is a blessing. They understand and share the vision for feeding the youth.  Partners in Hope does a great job of getting volunteers for the site and overseeing the grant this year. Troy Rec continues to offer help and feedback to ensure the program runs smoothly . The Lincoln Center is always willing to help on anything that is needed. When you have so many organizations and people within those organizations who are so selfless and willing to help, it makes for such a seamless operation. And obviously, we wouldn’t be able to do this without our incredible volunteers who step up and help with this program every day.”