Free summer lunch programs start

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Those who cannot always afford to eat lunch during the summer have a number of free options for sustenance, as summer lunch programs are starting across the area. 

Waterloo, Valmeyer and Prairie du Rocher

In Waterloo, House of Neighborly Service began its  summer lunch program last Tuesday. It began in Valmeyer and Prairie du Rocher on Monday. 

HNS offers free lunches Monday through Thursday to children and senior citizens. 

HNS also shares small activities like blowing bubbles, books that individuals can keep or read and exchange and full grocery bags for families. 

At the end of the summer, the nonprofit will also give children a backpack full of school supplies. 

HNS Executive Director Tina Charron said the program helps HNS stay connected with those in need. 

“We have been able to make connections with people in the community that didn’t know about House of Neighborly Service and make deeper connections within the community with young people and the elderly (through this program),” she said.

HNS has been offering free summer lunches for three years in partnership with Human Support Services and the Monroe County YMCA TEAMWORK. 

It gave out 5,000 lunches last year.  

This year, the free lunches will be available until Aug. 8. 

HNS will make stops at the rear parking lot at  Waterloo Junior High School lot at 11 a.m., Bella Vista apartments at 11:30 a.m., Morrison-Talbott Library parking lot at noon and the intersection of Park and Moore Streets at the red apartment buildings  at 12:30 p.m. throughout the summer. 

In Valmeyer, HNS will be at the Valmeyer City Hall parking lot at 11:30 a.m.

Prairie du Rocher residents can find HNS at the city park at 11:30 a.m. 

Check the nonprofit’s Facebook page for updates. Call HNS at 939-8900 for more information. 

Columbia

As of Monday, Columbia children can get their free lunches from the nonprofit Twigs free summer lunch program. 

Coordinated by Bethany United Methodist Church, lunches will be offered from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Metter Mark. 

The program runs until Aug. 8. 

This marks the fifth year the church has partnered with Twigs to offer free lunches. Call the church at 618-281-5849 for more information. 

Dupo and East Carondelet 

Twigs is also the organization offering free summer lunches in Dupo and East Carondelet. 

The program, which started Monday, is for children 18 and younger. 

The lunches will be available from 11:30 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday until Aug. 2 at the Dupo Community Park, East Carondelet Community Center, Prairie DuPont Fire Department and Bluffview Christian Center. 

This is the third year the community has partnered with Twigs. Last year it gave out 2,440 free lunches.

The community also offers a program called Community Backpack Angels that gives children in need food on the weekend.

That five-year-old initiative feeds about 25 kids a week. 

“With God’s help and the caring people and organizations who donate, hopefully both of these programs will continue to grow,” Twigs committee member Tammy Taylor said. 

Contact Taylor at 618-789-5515 for information about donations. 

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