I am watching as tears well up in a grandmother’s eyes as she’s telling me what a great program this is. “This is what the kids need to feel a sense of community; be able to play and be kids.” She is amazed that our community has this kind of program and thanks all of the volunteers for their help! This comment brought me back to the heart of the program.
Ms. Deb from the Walkersville library has a group of young children off to the side in the shade. She finished reading a story, and now the children are using all their might to lift up the large, bright parachute while some of the kids run underneath to the other side before the parachute comes back down. They are laughing and cheering for one another. Under the pavilion, Ms. Vicki is transforming the children into fairies and superheroes with her skilled hand and face paint. Still others are at the tables eating and watching the kids on the playground playing an intense game of gravel. The volunteers are serving lunches, getting kids settled at the table and oohing and aahhing over their fanciful faces. After an hour and a half of food, fun and friends, it’s time to clean up and go home. The kids are disappointed that the time has gone by so fast, but we’ll be back tomorrow for chicken nugget day. That’s how days are tracked during the lunch program. Monday is hot dog day; Tuesday is chicken nugget day; Wednesday is burrito day; Thursday is chicken patty day, and Friday is corn dog day.
The SOWAC lunch program has been a summer staple for the Discovery community for many years. This year we only had enough volunteers to cover four weeks of the summer. Frederick Community Action Agency (FCAA) continued to serve hot lunches until August 19th. During our four weeks we served 755 hot meals with an average of 40 kids a day! We had visitors from Walkersville Library, WAGS for Hope, WIC, Bookmobile, Walkersville Elementary School teachers, Kick’s Karate, Vicki and Friends face painting, Walkersville Dental, Walkersville Eye care, Deputy Holland, Is Real Life Center, Pure Love, Inc., Fountain Rock Park, Recycling Program and Frederick Keys’ Keyote. We also had a week long dance camp and a community garden! The kids were definitely NOT bored!!
The Creamery Park site ran for four weeks as well and served brown bag lunches prepared by church volunteers. The kids were visited by Ms. Aimee from the Walkersville Library, played board games, corn hole and enjoyed the park!
The purpose of the SOWAC lunch program is twofold. It is vital to feeding children in areas where there is 51% or more of children that qualify for free and reduced meals in the school. The program also builds community on many levels: FCAA provides the hot lunches for Discovery; GVCS provides funding for food, supplies and activities; local churches provide volunteers and for the Creamery site, bagged lunches, kitchen space and storage; local businesses and nonprofits come out and share with the kids. Then there are the residents of our community. We have parents, grandparents, neighbors and of course kids that are able to spend a couple hours together each weekday in a fun and safe environment.
Thank you to all the churches and volunteers who supervised the lunch days, prepared bagged lunches, shared activities and were there for the kids. The churches that helped at the Discovery site were: Calvary Assembly of God, Sunnyside Church, Church of Latter Day Saints, Peace in Christ Lutheran Church, and St. Timothy Catholic Church. The churches that helped at the Creamery site were: Community of Christ Church, Walkersville Community Church, Glade United Church of Christ, and Fredericktown Baptist Church.
We strive every year to do better and we need your help! We would love for your church, business, Moms group or Leisure group to come out and volunteer. This is a great opportunity to earn service hours if you are in high school and college. This outreach makes a difference here in our community and now when it is needed! Please contact Amy Queen at email@example.com for more information and ideas on how you can help make a difference!
Thank You to Amy Queen and her committee who devoted many hours planning and attending the summer lunch program. You all did an awesome job!