Let’s do lunch: Grass Valley Library offers kids free weekday lunches | TheUnion.com

Let’s do lunch: Grass Valley Library offers kids free weekday lunches

Jennifer Nobles
Staff Writer

The Grass Valley Library Royce Branch on Mill Street is opening its doors each weekday this summer to kids up to age 18 for free lunches.

With support from California State Library and California State Library Association, the local branch provides a healthy daily lunch with food provided by the Grass Valley school district.

"We are really lucky to work with the Grass Valley School District Childhood Nutrition Program," said Grass Valley Youth Services Librarian Rachel Schneider, "and Nevada County Public Health has been really instrumental in coming together as a huge community to create this amazing program. So we're really happy with it."

The free lunches will be available all summer, until school is back in session, from 12-12:30 p.m. Meals are served on the shaded lawn behind the Royce Library Branch. A recent lunch included turkey hot dogs, white bean salad, fruit and veggies, cheese, milk and water.

Schneider added that this Friday a smoothie bike will be on hand for the lunch thanks to Nevada County Public Health.

Although parents can't receive lunch, Briar Patch Food Co-op provides snacks for adults to enjoy as well. Schneider reminds parents to bring their teenagers, who are famously hungry.

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"We usually serve between 20-30 lunches per day," said Schneider. "We definitely have a handful of regulars that come in. We also have people who were at story time and just decided to hang out because they were already in the area."

The service is open to anyone, but Schneider mentioned that 60 percent of children in the Grass Valley school district receive free or reduced cost lunches during the school year. These children could possibly face food insecurity, which the program helps to alleviate.

In addition to lunch, crafts like bubble painting and slime making are provided.

A small garden on the library campus — which was planted in affiliation with Sierra Harvest — contains watermelon, summer squash, chard, and kale. For now, Schneider said it just looks nice, but they are hopeful that in the near future they can use the harvest as part of the lunch program.

"The kids have a lot of fun," Schneider said, "and we have this beautiful shaded area that's so nice. It's just been really beautiful and really fun. It's been a huge community effort and it has been really wonderful."

Local libraries continue to offer many children's activities including Musical Storytime and a South Yuba River Citizens League Field Trip. Further information can be found at mynevadacounty.com/library.

Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at jnobles@theunion.com or 530-477-4231.