Summer Meals Now Available

Scott Schulte, Z102.9

Z102.9 Today’s Hits, Scott Schulte. It is community spotlight and welcoming back our good friend Dawn Stephens. She’s with the Oakhill Jackson Neighborhood Association. And it’s always great to see you Dawn.

Dawn Stephens, Oakhill Jackson Neighborhood Association

Thank you sir; you as well.

Scott Schulte, Z102.9

And we’re going to talk today about something that you might not think about. But there are a lot of children in the school system who have free and reduced lunch who for one reason or another that may be the one really solid meal they get is the one they get at school, and obviously school is going to be out very soon for the summer.

And so you think, what then? Which is something I got to say, up until last year when I heard about the program that we’re going to talk about here, I didn’t even think about.

Dawn Stephens, Oakhill Jackson Neighborhood Association

Right.

Scott Schulte, Z102.9

And you have a program to talk about that kind of steps in and fills that gap, doesn’t it?

Dawn Stephens, Oakhill Jackson Neighborhood Association

Right. And it’s not actually my program, it’s a federal program. But it’s called the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and United Way has connected me and several other groups from the community to this program. Basically what it is it’s a chance for kids to get a meal, a solid meal and/or snack throughout the summer. From the day that school is out to the day that school starts again it’s a place to go and be with your friends, no charge for the meal. There’s no need to be hungry.

You think about oh I get my lunch break from this time to this time. Everyone just kind of takes for granted that their meal plan is the same throughout the year. But a lot of kids that really is going to be their only chance to get some healthy, nutritious food.

Scott Schulte, Z102.9

And hopefully they’re getting three of those a day anyway, but if not, here we go.

Dawn Stephens, Oakhill Jackson Neighborhood Association

Right. The reality is that doesn’t always happen and that’s kind of an ugly reality. But I love this program because it just faces that head-on and says, okay we’re going to provide lots of open sites throughout the community for anyone—any child age 1 to 18—to go. You don’t have to sign in, you don’t have to register, you don’t have to pay anything, you just go get the meal. Some sites even offer snacks.

Scott Schulte, Z102.9

You literally just show up?

Dawn Stephens, Oakhill Jackson Neighborhood Association

Yeah, you literally just show up.

Scott Schulte, Z102.9

Okay.

Dawn Stephens, Oakhill Jackson Neighborhood Association

And all we do is just make a little tally on a sheet that says, yep we had 25 kids today or we had 10 kids today.

Scott Schulte, Z102.9

How do we find out where we’re going or how do we know about locations or sites or do we just kind of contact United Way or what’s the best way?

Dawn Stephens, Oakhill Jackson Neighborhood Association

Yeah, that’s a good question. You’re going to start by calling United Way 2-1-1 and they’re going to have the information about it. Also, I have sent a flyer to this radio station and you guys are going to have that up on your website. There are several open sites.

Scott Schulte, Z102.9

So you can go to KZIA.com as well.

Dawn Stephens, Oakhill Jackson Neighborhood Association

That’s right. Or if people wanted to call me at the resource center they could. That number is 364-3721, and I can help you find the site that is nearest you.

Now something that’s really extra cool this year is that let’s say you live in Oakhill Jackson and you go to Oakhill Jackson lunches throughout the summer, but then you go to your grandma’s and she lives on the west side of town. Well now let’s say grandma is going to work and you don’t know where to go. This sheet that we’re going to have on your website is going to show you. This site is near your house where you are now, you can go here. You can go to any site in town; any student can go to any site in town and get their lunch.

Scott Schulte, Z102.9

You know I love the United Way and one of the things that’s great about the United Way is because they do such great work with the services that they provide to the limited local providers that they help support, but a lot of area people give money to the United Way and this is it in action. This is one of those things that your money, if you were one of those people who contributed to United Way, which so many do, does!

Dawn Stephens, Oakhill Jackson Neighborhood Association

Right. And also, this is implemented by the federal government and United Way just took it and said let’s do this. So United Way has done a great job of bringing community leaders, people who deal with youth on a regular basis, bringing those people together to have that dialogue that says okay, this food is here, how can we get kids to the food?

Scott Schulte, Z102.9

And you know what else, Dawn? It’s not just food too, they get a little chance to socialize during that time as well and just feel included. A lot of people don’t have a lot going on in the summertime and that’s a nice other part of that, would be a daily sort of check-in to also be social.

Dawn Stephens, Oakhill Jackson Neighborhood Association

Exactly. Like at our site, for example, we have a puzzle set up that kids work on everyday or we sometimes play bananagrams. Any number of board games can be just taken out before lunch or after lunch so that you have that time, like you said, to be social and just to connect with people so that, you know, some people might be faced with a lonely summer otherwise. And so this is a good way to get your belly full, get your heart full and to stay connected.

Scott Schulte, Z102.9

Nicely said.

Dawn Stephens, Oakhill Jackson Neighborhood Association

Thank you.

Scott Schulte, Z102.9

The word is you don’t have to be hungry this summer.

Dawn Stephens, Oakhill Jackson Neighborhood Association

You don’t.

Scott Schulte, Z102.9

And tell them again the contact other than KZIA.com for site locations, you can also call that number and – -

Dawn Stephens, Oakhill Jackson Neighborhood Association

You can call United Way 2-1-1, and literally that’s just dialing 2-1-1 on your phone, or you are welcome to call me at the Oakhill Jackson resource center. That number is 364-3721.

Scott Schulte, Z102.9

Always great to see you. What a great program; thanks for telling us about it.

Dawn Stephens, Oakhill Jackson Neighborhood Association

Thank you.

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