Free lunch: Nevada County summer programs underway to fend off child hunger | TheUnion.com

Free lunch: Nevada County summer programs underway to fend off child hunger

KNOW & GO

What: Food Bank of Nevada County food deliveries

When: Monday through Friday

Locations: 12:15 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Nevada Woods, 360 Sutton Way; Cedar Park/Oak Ridge, 210 Sutton Way and Springhill Gardens, 244 Dorsey Drive; 12:30 p.m. to 12:45 p.m., Glenbrook, 265 Sutton Way and Valley Commons, 1444 Segsworth Way; 12:35 p.m. to 12:50 p.m., Grass Valley Terrace, 275 Dorsey Drive

What: Grass Valley Library free lunch program

When: Monday to Friday at noon

Where: Grass Valley Library at 207 Mill Street, Grass Valley

During summers, hunger for kids can be problematic.

Children and teens may find themselves particularly inhibited from food access.

A number of Nevada County institutions want to eliminate the issue.

This week the Grass Valley Library — partnering with the Grass Valley School District and the Nevada County Public Health Department — and the Food Bank of Nevada County began free summer lunch programs to feed children 18 and under during the week.

About 75 percent of children in the Grass Valley School District receive free or reduced lunch during the school year, according to Laura Pappani, branch manager at the Grass Valley Library.

This is the second year the library is running its free lunch program. In 2018, it served more than 1,600 children and teens, said Pappani.

“Libraries are centrally located and places where kids are often going in the summer anyway,” she said. “It’s kind of like a natural synergy.”

On Wednesday, 46 kids showed up to partake in the program, said Pappani, while adults ate snacks provided by the branch manager.

The Food Bank of Nevada County, for their part, packed 60 lunches for kids Friday, said Gerrie Kopec who has overseen children’s nutrition at the organization for 15 years.

The summer program, that has been running since 2005, served 3,300 kids last year, according to Kopec’s data.

“There is a need, and we have a need, and it’s grown,” she said.

The food bank targets six apartment complexes, all low-income, for distributing lunches. The program is meant to catch children who would otherwise not be able to reach the organization’s distribution centers.

People under 18 are not required to provide their I.D.’s or demonstrate proof of residency in order to qualify for either free lunch program. (For the library’s program, a disabled individual, regardless of age, also qualifies.)

Kopec has two professionals — Nikolena Coonen and Alliah Cope — helping her run the program. They, and their 10 to 12 volunteers, are trying to ensure kids don’t go hungry.

“They don’t necessarily have lunch,” said Kopec. “They’re home alone.”

Contact Sam Corey at 530-477-4219 or at scorey@theunion.com.


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