MILTON — Each weekday morning throughout the summer, the Milton YMCA is bustling with activity as staff and volunteers prepare an estimated 300 lunches for distribution throughout the community.
Ron Marshall, branch executive director, said the Milton YMCA has operated a Summer Food Service Program for more than 20 years.
“It’s our goal to provide a nutritious lunch for children throughout the summer months when school is not in session,” he said.
Marshall said staff members arrive at the YMCA at around 7 a.m. each weekday to begin preparing lunches. By 9:40, the lunches are headed out the door for distribution throughout Northumberland County.
Madalene Masevicius, food coordinator, said any child can come to one of numerous established sites to receive a lunch.
“It fills a gap for kids who normally get lunches at school,” she said. “They may have food insecurity in the summer. This makes sure they are going to get food.”
Marshall said he’s astonished to hear of the number of children who don’t have the opportunity to receive a lunch in the summer.
“That’s when this great program steps in and allows for these children to receive a nutritious lunch,” he said.
Masevicius said the program follows federal guidelines. Each lunch bag contains a grain, protein, fruit, vegetable and milk.
She noted that each of the sites where the lunches are distributed have typically received the lunches in past summers. However, she said new locations are welcome to apply to become a lunch site.
In addition to sites which have staff members who distribute the lunches, Masevicius said Summer Food Service Program staff members deliver and distribute the lunches to various locations throughout the community.
The lunches are provided to children enrolled in YMCA programs. Marshall said individuals can also come to the YMCA to receive a lunch.
In the Milton area, locations and times where lunches are available include: Mahoning Acres, 11 a.m.; Milton Village, 11 a.m.; Brown Avenue Park, 11 a.m., Fort Boone Campground, 12:15 p.m.; Fifth Street playground, 11 a.m.; and Columbia Avenue playground, 11 a.m.
Locations in the Sunbury and Northumberland area where the lunches are available include: Sunbury Community Pool, 11:30 a.m.; Keller Street playground, 11:30 a.m.; Kiwanis playground, 11:30 a.m.; Oppenheimer playground, 11:30 a.m.; Sunbury Salvation Army, 11:30 a.m.; Goodwill playground, 11:30 a.m.; Degenstein Library, 11:30 a.m.; Shikellamy Middle School, 11:30 a.m.; Second Street playground, 11 a.m.; and Priestly Library, 11 a.m.
Staff writer Kevin Mertz can be reached at 570-742-9671 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.