Many make summer lunch program go

As the eighth year for Fayette County’s Summer Lunches for Kids Program winds down for this year, recognition is due for the generosity of the individuals, businesses, churches and organizations for the distribution of about 500 lunches a week to children in the county.

Whether it be through the provision of a site from which to make and distribute the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, generous contributions of cases of food items to put in the lunches, monetary donations to help buy the contents of the lunches or individuals buying an extra jar of the peanut butter or jelly when they buy their own groceries or volunteering time to be the spreaders of peanut butter and jelly, the willingness of all to help in some way is what made the program a success in Fayette County.  
The lunch sites in Shobonier, Ramsey, Vandalia, Brownstown and Vera provided the 500 nutritious sack lunches to their children completely through local funding. Vandalia, the largest city, provides the lunches three times a week.
How It Started
Pat Rhodes who kick-started the program eight years ago, said that the area in which she and her husband, the Rev. Carl Rhodes of Northside Christian Church previously lived had a summer lunch program and when they moved to Fayette County, she saw a need for the program for children here.
She expressed appreciation and said that she was proud of such a response and the success of the program from such a small community.
This could not have been achieved without the commitment of the volunteers in the various towns.
A list or count of the volunteers was not available at this time, but all were vital to making the program a success, whether they were able to help every week at the site or just worked every time it was possible in their busy schedules.
There were too many behind the scenes who contributed in some way to name, but the success of the 2015 Summer Lunches for Kids is due for all who helped in any way – no donation or contribution was insignificant.
If you contributed one loaf of bread or one jar of peanut butter or jelly, you helped feed a child who may not otherwise have had a nourishing lunch.  
If you contributed monetarily or helped provide a healthy fruit drink, cupcake or nutritious snack, you helped a child have a healthy meal.
And It’s Appreciated by the Kids Also
Most of the kids said a polite “thank you” for the his or her lunch, or at least showed their appreciation through their excitement and enthusiasm on receiving their lunches.  
And to the Volunteers …
… whether you were a giver of lunch items or monetary help, a  spreader of jelly or peanut butter, a wrapper of the sandwiches, a sacker of the lunches, or one who handed out the lunches to the kids, you have contributed to the children’s health and happiness by the giving of your time and abilities, and are, therefore, a valuable asset to your community.

Summer lunch volunteers shown are Connie Green, LaVon Kramer and Brenda Klein (seated) and Laura Gurtner and Angelea Garza (standing).

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