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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Program for kids fills free-lunch gap

By RICK PLUMLEE
The Wichita Eagle

The Wichita school district’s summer lunch program ends Friday, but children will still be able to get a free lunch during the two-week gap before school starts.

Starting Monday, a community-based project – “Filling the Gap” – will serve lunches at 11 locations each weekday through Aug. 10. That’s more than twice the five sites utilized last year.

“We know that the need is greater than we can meet,” said Sally Fahrenthold, a retired pastor who coordinates the project for Partners for Wichita, a nondenominational nonprofit, “but we wanted to reach out to more children in more locations.”

An estimated 24 percent of Wichita’s children are at risk of hunger due to poverty, Fahrenthold said.

The group expects to serve about 4,500 box lunches, plus additional foods like fresh fruit and snack bars, over the 10-day period from noon to 1 p.m. The lunches are free for all children 18 and under.

About 160 volunteers will serve the meals. Donations help obtain the lunches from the Kansas Food Bank, Fahrenthold said.

By area of Wichita, where the lunches will be served:

• North/northwest: Evergreen Neighborhood City Hall, 2700 N. Woodland; Fairview Christian Church, 1650 Fairview; Inter-Faith Ministries Villa Court, 930 N. Market

• Northeast: Atwater Neighborhood City Hall, 2755 E. 19th St.; Dellrose United Methodist Church, 1502 N. Dellrose; Urban League of Kansas, 2418 E. Ninth St.

• Southeast: Colvin Neighborhood City Hall, 2820 S. Roosevelt; Victory Community of Faith Church, 812 S. Oliver

• South/southwest: Aley Park Shelter, Stanley Neighborhood City Hall, 1803 S. Seneca; St. Anne’s Catholic Church and School, 2801 S. Seneca; Asbury Church/Linwood Ministry Center, 1248 S. Lulu.

For more information about the project, call Partners for Wichita at 316-263-0810 or e-mail partnersforwichita@cox.net.

Through Friday, Wichita children can receive free breakfasts, lunches or afternoon snacks at 40 sites as part of the Summer Food Service Program that started May 30. The school district ran the program, paid for by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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