Summer lunches at the Grass Valley Library wrapping up | TheUnion.com

Summer lunches at the Grass Valley Library wrapping up

Submitted to The Union

As the summer winds to a close and all the kids prepare to head back to school, the Grass Valley Library – Royce Branch looks back on its inaugural summer lunch program that provided free lunch to children.

"It's been a huge success," said Rachel Schneider, the Youth Librarian who has been running the program. "We have been able to provide lunch, activities, and a space to learn and play to so many kids and teens this year."

A total of 1,472 kids and teens, in fact, have participated in the program.

Summer Lunches at the Library was created as a partnership between the Nevada County Community Library, the Grass Valley School District, and Nevada County Public Health Department. Each weekday at noon, children ages 0-18 have come to the library for a free, nutritious meal provided by the Grass Valley School District Child Nutrition Services followed by a fun, interactive activity. Meanwhile parents were encouraged to enjoy snacks that had been generously donated by the Briar Patch Co-op.

Throughout the summer, Schneider has worked with a trio of teen interns and Nevada County Public Health to provide fun opportunities for kids to learn and play during lunchtime. Activities for kids have included yoga, art projects, a smoothie bike, and weekly science experiments. The meals and activities have been garnering a very positive reaction from the community.

"It rocks!" said Linda High, grandmother to 2-year-old Sebastian and a regular attendee at the program. "The whole program just rocks!"

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This program fills a real need for families in the Grass Valley area. Currently 72 percent of children in Grass Valley receive free and reduced lunches throughout the school year. When school is no longer in session this can leave children and families struggling to find food to fill this gap. With Summer Lunches in place at the library, youth in the Grass Valley area have been able to find nutritious meals and enriching programs to help them grow.

"It is so nice to have such a great resource in town," said Christy Graham, mother of two young girls. "I asked my daughter 'What do you want do today?' and she said 'Let's go to the library for lunch!'"

Schneider notes that this has also been an excellent opportunity for her teen interns.

"Being a part of this program has given them new work skills and new way of looking at and interacting with their community," she said. "The three interns were given a $250 stipend, provided by the Friends of the Nevada County Libraries, in order to compensate them for a summer of hard work. Each teen has helped with lunch setup, organized and conducted activities, and helped maintain statistics. "We could not have done this without them."

Summer Lunches continues at the Grass Valley Library – Royce Branch weekdays through Aug. 14. Lunches are served from noon to 12:30 p.m., with activities starting at 12:30 p.m. For more information about Summer Lunches, contact Rachel Schneider at rachel.schneider@co.nevada.ca.us or 530-470-2695.

Source: Nevada County Library