Blue Ridge brings summer lunch program to library
BY STACI WILSON
Children attending the Hallstead-Great Bend library summer story hour are getting more than just a good book.
They are also getting a free lunch.
After several successful years of running the summer feeding program at the Blue Ridge campus, district food service director Linda Cole-Koloski branched out this year – extending the summer lunch program to the local library.
The program is made available to the community through the USDA and the Department of Education.
Lunches are available Monday through Thursday to anyone, 18 years of age and under at the school.
But on Tuesdays, through July 30, brown bag lunches are being delivered to the library on Franklin Ave., Hallstead.
“It’s a trial program to see how it works out,” said librarian Angie Hall.
Now two weeks into the program, “The response has been awesome. The kids and parents love it,” Hall said.
Hall started with about 16 or 17 story hour participants taking advantage of the offering. Last week, 25 lunches were handed out at the library, “It does seem like we are adding each week,” Hall said.
“It’s not just for story hour kids,” Hall said. “It’s for any child under the age of 18.”
Hall said that if children in the community want to participate, all they need to do is call the library before 10 a.m. Tuesday morning. Lunches are served up at about 10:45 a.m., she said.
The library worked in conjunction with the school to get the program off the ground.
Hall said, “Linda was very organized and made it really easy to get it going. I appreciate all she has done.”
It’s been such an early success, Hall said she would like to see more options like it available in the county.
It’s not only good reading but the community members are also getting a good, nutritious lunch prepared in the Blue Ridge cafeteria.
“I think people are using the library more because of the program,” Hall said. “The lunches offer social time in addition to the story hour.”
Recent rains have kept participants inside for lunch but Hall is hoping that a break in the weather will allow them to branch out into the adjacent park.
For more information about the summer lunch program, contact Linda Cole-Koloski at 465-3141 or visit www.brsd.org.
For information about the Hallstead-Great Bend summer reading program and summer food participation, call 570-879-2227.