Summer is time for family fun and relaxation. The break from the demands of the school schedule gives families the chance to spend more time together and, hopefully, enjoy some new adventures. Unfortunately, the break from the school schedule also means a break from the scheduled meals that school provides. And for many families, that can be very difficult. A recent survey of families across the nation showed that 40% of families struggle to provide enough food for their children during the summer.
In an effort to help families who struggle with food insecurity during the summer, the Kenton County Public Library has partnered with 3 local public school districts to provide locations for serving free lunches for children. This partnership has been ongoing at the Erlanger Branch for 6 years, and at our Covington and Durr branches for 4 years.
How does the summer feeding program at the Library work? The funding for the program comes from the USDA. No Library funds are used in any way. The meals are prepared by the Food Service staff at our local public schools. The Erlanger Elsmere School District prepares food for the Erlanger Branch. The Covington Independent School District provides meals at the Covington Branch. And the Kenton County School District provides food at the Durr Branch. Cold food is kept cold in coolers, and hot food is kept warm in portable warmers. The meals conform to the same nutrition standards that apply to the school lunch program. Lunch is free for all children ages 1-18. Adults 19 and up can purchase a meal for a small fee. There is no income verification, ID check, or paperwork involved. Every child who comes into the serving room is served a free lunch, with no questions asked.
Lunches are served every Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Erlanger Branch, from June 3 through July 26. Beginning June 10 through July 26,, lunches are served at the Covington Branch every Monday through Friday from Noon until 1:00 p.m. At the Durr Branch, lunches are available on Fridays from Noon until 1:00 p.m, beginning Friday, June 14 through Friday, August 2.
The Kenton County Public Library is happy to be able to provide the spaces for this summer feeding program. Our Library buildings are true community centers, where children, teens, seniors, and families enjoy our print resources, our electronic resources, our comfortable seating and meeting areas, and now, our lunches! Of course, the Library has always been actively involved in helping children to maintain and even improve their reading skills during summer vacation. Our Library’s summer reading program is a very popular part of many families’ summer activities. Now, our Library is able to provide nourishment for the body as well as the mind! Come to the Library and check out some books, enjoy a storytime, and… .have lunch! What a great way to spend a summer day with your family!
Written by Lise Tewes, Programming Coordinator at the Erlanger Branch Library. Lise has had the pleasure of planning the summer lunch service at the Erlanger Branch since it began in 2014. She enjoys seeing the program grow each year, with more children and families enjoying their library lunch time!