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Programs fill kids’ nutritional needs during summer

Daliesha Walker of AmeriCorps, right, gives a lunch to Alaina Page, 8, left, at Shaw Park on Thursday. The city of Williamsport’s Summer Lunch Program for youth continues all summer at Brandon, Shaw and Preziosi Parks on Tuesday and Thursday’s from 11am-2pm. The free lunch program is a partnership of the city of Williamsport Recreation Department and the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. KAREN VIBERT-KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette

With the end of the school year, many districts have discontinued providing meals for students, leaving them without access to food and nutrition for the summer.

To fill this void, the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank is sponsoring three sites in the city where children can go to get meals for the week.

“Parents can come or just children can come and get meals to take home and eat them,” said Pam Hicks, programs manager at the food bank. “It’s all off-site this year.”

“For me it takes the place of the breakfast and lunch that the kids get when they’re in school. Unfortunately in the summertime, that’s not an option for them, so this allows them to still have a place to go to get a nutritious meal,” Hicks added.

Children do not have to register for this and the meals are given out on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with enough meals to cover the children’s needs for a week.

The food bank sites are at Brandon Park near the bandshell; Shaw Park, 1577 Sherman St. and Preziozi Park, at the corner of Baker and Perl streets in Newberry.

Other sites offering free summer meal programs and the times are:

• Sojourner Truth, 501 High St., takeout lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday-Saturday.

• West End Christian Community Center, 901 Diamond St., takeout lunches, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. daily.

All programs have already begun operation and are open to children 18 and under.

Although the Loyalsock Township School District will stop offering the grab and go lunches for students at the end of this month, the district does operate what it calls the ‘Sock Pantry. By emailing or calling the school, families can request family food boxes, according to Beth Hufnagel, the district’s food service director. Requests can be made by calling 570-323-3211 or emailing:

bhufnagel@loyalsocklancerfamily.

Another way to obtain nutritious food is through the Food Bank’s Fresh Express program. Hicks said that all sites are now open and operational on a drive-thru or walk-thru basis because of social distancing.

There is paperwork that needs to be filled out prior to the distribution so that the food bank can plan for the amount of product needed at a site, Hicks said.

Fresh Express is part of the mobile distribution program at the food bank and offers things such as fresh produce, milk eggs and frozen meats. This program is offered in addition to the crisis boes that the food bank has been distributing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Locations and times for Fresh Express distributions are:

• Newberry Church of Christ, 211 Linn St., first and third Thursdays, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

• Christian Church, 5904 Lycoming Creek Road, second Monday, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

• First United Methodist Church, 601 Market St., second and fourth Wednesdays, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

• Evangelical Friends Church, 137 S. Third St., Hughesville, fourth Thursday, 4 p.m. to6 p.m.

• Third Street United Methodist Church, 931 Third St., third Monday, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

• Ralson Fire Co., 10973 PA 14, Ralston, second and fourth Wednesday, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

• Firetree Place, 600 Campbell St., every Friday, noon to 2 p.m.

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