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May 31, 2012

Lunch sites provide meals for hungry kids

Food Finders teams up with faith-based organizations

LOGANSPORT — Several local faith-based organizations have partnered with a Lafayette food bank to serve free, healthy lunches this summer to children who come to the old Morningstar girls’ home or Logansport Church of the Brethren.

Lunch will also be served at the Fairview ball park on Wednesdays for part of the summer.

It’s the first year that the federally funded Summer Food Service Program will offer lunches in Cass County — and Emmaus Mission Center director Jason Mitchell hopes many children will be able to walk or bike to the free meal site.

Tuesday was the first day for the program and only two children came for the meal.

“We had heard that it would start kind of slow,” Mitchell said. “It’s further into the holidays that things will pick up. It was good to be able to serve the kids we did have.”

He said he hoped publicity as well as a sign in the front of the building would raise awareness of the program.

The program is funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant managed through Lafayette-based Food Finders Food Bank.

A $50,000 grant from ConAgra supplements the USDA funds and allowed Food Finders to more than double the number of food sites it coordinates. This year, the organization launched 37 sites, up from

17 last year.

Food Finders estimates that 27 percent of Cass County children are at risk of hunger. Since more than half the county’s students are enrolled in the school free and reduced lunch program, the summer food program will be open to any child regardless of family income level.

The program provides a free lunch to any child ages 2 to 18. Each day’s meal will change, but all meals served on a given day are the same. Children have to stay at the center while they eat their meal.

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