REFB seeking volunteers for lunch program
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By Kaydon Coburn  May 10, 2013 12:00 am

 

The winter holidays are traditionally associated with giving back to those in need. However, summer volunteers are needed for the approaching 10th annual Every Child, Every Day Summer Lunch Program June 3-August 9.

The summer lunch program, run by the Redwood Empire Food Bank (REFB), offers more than 30,000 Sonoma County low-income children a healthy lunch and educational activities.

“(We need) volunteers to go to community sites and run garden nutrition education activities, or offer their own interesting, fun or educational activity at a community site,” said Vanessa Bautista, Community programs coordinator.

The summer lunch program operates at 47 sites throughout Sonoma County. Rohnert Park and Cotati has five sites and last year served a total of 12,114 lunches, according to the REFB.

“Our most community oriented location in Rohnert Park-Cotati is at Alicia Park, where we utilize volunteers to serve lunches to children and families who attend. We will be running a kickoff event Friday, June 14, at Alicia Park,“ said Bautista. The REFB has been serving Rohnert Park-Cotati since 2005.

Volunteers are essential to the operation of the summer lunch program and are needed to serve and deliver meals, and to oversee educational activities of children and teenagers. Volunteers must be 18 years or older (unless accompanied by a guardian) and are encouraged to team up with family or friends. Volunteer training will be provided on Tuesday, May 21.

“One single father of twins told the REFB that after losing his business, our free summer lunch program enabled his sons to eat nutritious meals five days a week. We are grateful to our community to support efforts to end hunger for some of its most vulnerable neighbors, low-income children,” said David Goodman, executive director of the REFB in a media statement.

The lunch program is a collaborative effort of nutrition departments of Santa Rosa and Healdsburg school districts, Boys & Girls Clubs, Burbank Housing, neighborhood youth programs, faith based groups, and other organizations and volunteers, according to the REFB. The amount of meals served has increased every year since the inception of the program in 2004 and are expected to increase this year.

For more information call 523-7900 ext.155, or go to www.refb.org.

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