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Friday, June 1, 2018

Volunteers needed for free summer meal program at Dundee Park this summer by Lorraine Glowczak

The Summer Food Service Program will be providing free summer meals every weekday from July 9th to August 17th from noon to 1 p.m. This sixth annual free summer meal program will be located at Dundee Park, 79 Presumpscot Road in Windham with the intention of helping families save money while providing a fun, safe place for kids and teens, ages 18 and under, to eat a healthy meal every day of the week.

Statistics indicate that one out of every five school age children are food insecure. This includes
children in our small-town communities of Windham and Raymond.

According to the Economic Research Service division of the United States Department of Agriculture, the following is what is known about food insecurity in the U.S.

The defining characteristic of very low food security is that, at times during the year, the food intake of household members is reduced and their normal eating patterns are disrupted because the household lacks money and other resources for food. Very low food security can be characterized in terms of the conditions that households in this category typically report in the annual food security survey.
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·         98 percent reported having worried that their food would run out before they got money to buy more.
·         97 percent reported that the food they bought just did not last, and they did not have money to get more.
·         95 percent reported that they could not afford to eat balanced meals.
·         97 percent reported that an adult had cut the size of meals or skipped meals because there was not enough money for food.
·         88 percent reported that this had occurred in 3 or more months.
·         68 percent of respondents reported that they had been hungry but did not eat because they could not afford enough food.
·         44 percent of respondents reported having lost weight because they did not have enough money for food.
·         33 percent reported that an adult did not eat for a whole day because there was not enough money for food.
·         26 percent reported that this had occurred in 3 or more months.” www.ers.usda.gov.

RSU#14 and the town sponsor the Summer Meals Program to help those families who are facing these choices and are able to do so through a federal grant. But in order for this meal program to run successfully, volunteers are needed.

“I think it is important to volunteer and to help bridge the summer gap that students experience during summer vacation,” stated Jeanne Reilly, RSU#14 Food Service Director. “This gap is pretty severe right here in Windham and Raymond and we need all the help we can get.”

To volunteer will not take much of your time. “All we need are individuals who can commit to two or three dates throughout the summer,” Michelle Jordan, Volunteer Coordinator for the program said. “Each volunteer will be asked to attend a small training session and will only have to be available for 2 hours - from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. - on the days they volunteer to serve the meals. The two hours consists of receiving the meals as they come in, serving the meals to the children and a few minutes of cleaning up after the meals are completed.”

http://www.jennsmobilenotaryservices.com/Volunteers, and their children, will have free access into the park, as entrance fees do apply. Park pass waivers are available for Windham and Raymond residents and can be requested from Reilly at jreilly@rsu14.org.

For those who are interested in volunteering, contact Jordan at wpsvolunteer@gmail.com. To learn more about the program itself, contact Marge Govoni at mgovoni@rsu14.org.

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