|REFBís hunger-free program under way
Now in its 10th year, the Redwood Empire Food Bank’s (REFB) ConAgra Foundation Hunger-Free Summer Program is opening sites in early June throughout Sonoma County to distribute fresh meals prepared daily to low-income children.
Nearly 30,000 low-income children rely on school lunches for much of their daily nutrition during the school year and often miss meals during summer vacation. Because of the efforts of REFB, they can be sure to find a healthy lunch at one of the “Hunger-Free Summer” sites. When the program began, about 20,000 children were eligible for free or reduced price school lunches. This year, the number has risen to more than 30,000.
“There is an increased risk of hunger during the summer when school is out of session, said Itzul Gutierrez, REFB programs manager. “Summer Lunch is the REFB’s direct response to ensure that local children have access to healthy meals. Obtaining a meal is easy. No paperwork or sign-up is required. The program serves any child under 18 years of age.”
Volunteers are still needed as drivers or to oversee fun educational activities this summer. The Hunger-Free Summer Program includes garden based nutrition activities where children will be introduced to vegetable gardening and the benefits of eating healthy and fresh food.
From now through Aug. 9, the REFB and participating agencies will be serving lunches at 46 sites. For a site near you, call 2-1-1, the Sonoma County Resource Directory line, or REFB at 523-7900. Sites and times are subject to change.
For more information, contact Vanessa Bautista, REFB Community Programs Coordinator, at 523-7900, ext. 155, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.