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Stopping the hunger

Program addresses a growing concern

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Last week, Lamar Consolidated ISD launched its Seamless Summer Meal Program, and as a member of this community, I am grateful for it.

The program provides fresh meals during the week to LCISD students and other children in the community from 18 months old to 18 years old.

Although the times and menus are subject to change, breakfast and lunch will be served at the following locations Monday through Friday:

• Through Aug. 2: Terry High School from 8:30 to 9 a.m. for breakfast and 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. for lunch; and George Junior High from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. for breakfast and 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. for lunch.

• Through June 26: Pink Elementary from 7:45 to 8:15 a.m. for breakfast and 12:45 to 1:15 p.m. for lunch.

• Through July 3: Smith Elementary from 7:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. for breakfast and 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. for lunch.

Breakfast and lunch will also be served at Lamar Junior High School from 9 to 9:30 a.m. and 1 to 1:30 p.m., respectively, Monday through Thursday, June 10 through June 26 and July 15 through July 26.

The program is being offered by the district but was secured by a Texas Department of Agriculture grant the district had to apply for, explained Stacie Bean-Johnson, the Assistant Child Nutrition Director — Operations for LCISD.

All children have to do is show up and eat. The meals are free, so spread the word to those families who have children and could benefit from the service.

No registration is required, but if you have a question call 832-223-0180 or visit lcisd.org.

This is a program that demonstrates not only a need in our community but also our willingness to meet it.

Hungry children isn’t a concern we can overlook, and I credit Lunches of Love for effectively and officially bringing it to the forefront of our minds nearly a decade ago by offering free meals to students during those times when school was not in session.

And now the district has jumped on the bandwagon.

Bean-Johnson told me the longevity of the program will depend on how well it debuts this summer, so whatever we can do as a community to make sure this is a success, we should.

As a child I never worried about where my next meal would come from. It wasn’t something my brother and I ever thought about.

The first time I experienced true hunger was just for a couple of days as a college student as I waited to receive my paycheck.

Once that money was deposited, my belly was filled immediately.

But our young children don’t have that option. They don’t have paychecks coming.

Efforts like LCISD’s Seamless Summer Meal Program not only help keep children fed, but helps those parents who stress over whether their child will have to miss a meal.

Food is a necessity, not a luxury, despite the price of it these days.

There are many efforts in our area and beyond regarding childhood hunger, so if you have the means — like volunteering or donating to Lunches of Love — get involved.

Or at the very minimum share these resources —like the Seamless Summer Meal Program — with people you know.

Being a member of a community surpasses living at a certain address. Claiming to care about your community requires more than social media posts.

Being a member of a community is helping where you can, or at the very least, offering someone who’s struggling a helping hand.

Reach Marquita Griffin at mgriffin@fbherald.com.

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