Visiting Summer Meal Sites—Neighborhood House & Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club
Neighborhood House is a United Way of King County grantee for our summer meals grants, and last week I visited their Rainier Vista meal site, one of the two sites they manage in King County. They serve lunch Monday-Friday from 12:00p.m.-1:00p.m., and they will continue to do so until August, 24th. Their sponsor is the City of Seattle and they receive meals from the Seattle School District.
They have two volunteers who help to serve the 30-45 children that come in to eat lunch each day. Many of the participants come from different summer groups around the area that Neighborhood House has conducted outreach to. They typically see children coming from the Horn of Africa, Nature Consortium, REWA, and the local daycares.
A couple of weeks ago the United Way of King County conducted an outreach event in the Rainier Valley to promote participating in summer meals. The area around Neighborhood House’s Rainier Vista site is one of the areas our volunteers canvassed. On top of all the outreach the UWKC did, Neighborhood House also sent some of their volunteers around the area to put flyers up and will continue to do so. They are committed to getting the word out about their program.
On July 23rd, I had the opportunity to go visit the Rainier Vista Boys and Girls club to see how their summer meal program was coming along. Patrice Freeman the coordinator for the program has been doing this for 19 years! She is the only staff member who supports this program which serves around 80 children a day. They are serving kids from their childcare, drop-ins, and other programs in the area.
While I was there I got to watch first part of feeding the kids in the childcare center at the Boys and Girls Club. Imagine huge round tables full of children being dismissed by table to come to Patrice and pick up their lunch. “The kids have really liked the meals this year,” Patrice said. From what I saw they looked great! Visualize a homemade lunchable full of carrot sticks, cucumber slices, and a “make your own pizza kit.” Those are the kinds of lunches the kids are getting this year. I personally have tried one of their lunches when I attended (along with Lauren McGowan and two other UWKC AmeriCorps Volunteers: Nora Peters and Katherine Buckley) the City of Seattle’s Summer Meal Kick-Off event. Katherine and I had the chicken tacos with watermelon, cucumber slices, carrot sticks, and milk and Nora had the chicken salad with watermelon, cucumber slices, carrot sticks, and milk. Pretty healthy and pretty tasty!
It is community organizations like Neighborhood House and the Boys and Girls Club that are helping to feed hungry children this summer!
Check this out here is a “share box” at the Neighborhood House site. Whenever a kid doesn’t want something on their lunch, an example would be milk, they can return it to the share box for it to either be reused the next day or consumed by another child.