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Local Volunteer Opportunities Help Hungry Children

May 22, 2018

As summer begins, people often scramble to plan vacation time activities, yet the most meaningful activity of all might be right here at home… helping others.

MustMinistriesMUST Ministries is launching the 23rd year of Summer Lunch, a program that brings communities together in seven counties to feed children in need. “We plan to serve 6,000 – 7,000 children every weekday by providing a nutritious lunch made and distributed by hundreds of compassionate volunteers,” said Kristin Harrison, Summer Lunch Coordinator at MUST.

Well over 2.5 million lunches have been served since the program began with just 25 lunches a day. Last summer, MUST provided 273,815 meals thanks to hundreds of volunteers working in the program and making lunches.

“Recruiting volunteers is a priority as we head to our first day of Summer Lunch on May 29, ” Harrison said, “and we encourage everyone to get involved. Feeding precious children in your community is not only life changing for the kids, but also is life-changing for the volunteer. Few things transform a person like helping a little neighbor in need.”

Volunteers can help regularly – like one day a week – or more often. They can also serve as their schedules permit throughout the summer. The packing happens each morning before lunch and distribution follows for only about an hour each day.

Specifically, MUST is searching for several roles, including checker/packers who go to a host site for only two hours to assure the freshness and accuracy of each lunch. They count the lunches and pack them in boxes to load in the delivery cars and vans. Anyone age 10 or older can help, and these young volunteers must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Next the drivers and riders deliver the meals to apartment complexes, mobile home communities, parks and camps where large numbers of children need a lunch. These volunteers help for about an hour, need background checks and drivers are required to submit a driving record review. MUST is searching for volunteers who will appreciate the joy and privilege of handing food to the youngest casualty of poverty.

The final need is for volunteers who will pledge to make lunches. A lunch includes a sandwich, two side items and a drink. Children receive turkey, ham, bologna and peanut butter/jelly sandwiches during the summer.  Those who cannot make meals can donate supplies such as food, paper lunch bags, juice boxes, sealable sandwich bags, healthy snacks (applesauce cups, apples, granola bars), unopened sliced lunch meats, jelly (grape is best), unopened cheese slices individually wrapped and plastic gloves.

Other needs include groups to color and decorate lunch bags, donate children’s books for the every Friday delivery and host short Vacation Bible School or recreation/craft sessions on site.

Each county has a Summer Lunch Coordinator who should be emailed for details on where to drop off food or sign up to volunteer. Please check out our web page at www.mustministries.org/summerlunch to find your area coordinator.

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