Unique partnership brings free summer feeding program to Kirkland
June 29, 2012 · Updated 5:20 PM
The City of Kirkland will be hosting the first of eight free lunches from 11:30 a.m. to noon on July 10 at 132nd Square Park in Totem Lake.
The effort is part of the national Summer Feeding Program, which was created in 1975 to nourish children, who don’t have the benefit of consistent meals throughout the summer. Through this program, children 18 years old and younger will have access to a free sack lunch every Tuesday through Aug. 28.
This is the first year the City of Kirkland is sponsoring the program. And it’s the first year the Lake Washington School District has been eligible for it. That’s because, until this year, no school in the district had more than 50 percent of its students enrolled in the free or reduced lunch program. But this year, John Muir Elementary exceeded that threshold.
“The Summer Feeding Program provides an essential link for students who rely on the Free or Reduced Lunch Program for some of their daily nutrition,” says Regi Schubiger. “This is a way of ensuring those same children are fed, even when school is out for summer.”
In this inaugural year, the City of Kirkland has partnered with several organizations, including the Nourishing Network, United Way of King County, the LWSD and the United States Department of Agriculture, which will be reimbursing the city for the meals it serves.
The Summer Feeding Program is one of several programs offered in the area by various public and non-profit agencies.
In the fall of 2010, for example, Shauna Yusko, a librarian in the LWSD, began collecting food and organizing them into backpacks. Yusko called these “Pantry Packs.” At first, she sent them home with 35 students from two different schools, who needed nutrition on the weekends. Today, the Pantry Pack program delivers food to more than 350 students in 23 schools throughout Kirkland, Redmond and Sammamish.
The Nourishing Network began as a Hopelink initiative aimed at leveraging the community’s time, talent and ideas to close food gaps in the community. Now, the Nourishing Network has become its own entity.
The City of Kirkland announces the sponsorship of the Simplified Summer Food Program for Children. Meals will be made available at no charge to attending children under 18 years of age and younger. All meals are available without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.