Sum­mer Meals coali­tion feeds lo­cal chil­dren

The Dundalk Eagle - - FRONT PAGE - By MIA MCCASLIN mm­c­caslin@ches­pub.com

Last Thurs­day, the Bal­ti­more County Sum­mer and Af­ter­school Meals Coali­tion, No Kid Hun­gry Mary­land and the Amer­i­can Dairy As­so­ci­a­tion North East

gath­ered at the Dun­dalk PAL Cen­ter to cel­e­brate the suc­cess and con­tinue to raise aware­ness of the sum­mer meals pro­gram avail­able in Bal­ti­more County.

The pro­gram pro­vided lunch for 20-plus chil­dren who may not have had a nu­tri­tious meal oth­er­wise and brought former NFL player Brad Jack­son to in­ter­act with the kids.

“A lot of th­ese kids wouldn’t have lunch right now,” said Jack­son, glanc­ing around the room.

Jack­son got in­volved through the NFL, Play 360 and the Dairy Farm­ers of Amer­ica. Af­ter find­ing out about break­fasts be­ing pro­vided in schools, Jack­son be­came more in­volved in the cause, which he says he holds “near and dear.”

Jack­son con­tin­ued, “this gives the kids a safe en­vi­ron­ment. It’s just won­der­ful that I could be a small part in help­ing out.”

In com­mu­ni­ties where a fair por­tion of chil­dren liv­ing there are el­i­gi­ble for meal as­sis­tance dur­ing the school year, meals can be sup­ple­mented through­out the sum­mer months as well.

“For all of the kids who ei­ther get re­duced pric­ing or free meals, our pro­gram aims to make sure they’re get­ting every­thing they need through­out the sum­mer months,” said Brooke McCauley of Mary­land Hunger So­lu­tions. “We don’t want them to ex­pe­ri­ence a nu­tri­tion gap.”

Ac­cord­ing to McCauley, ap­prox­i­mately half of the chil­dren reg­is­tered for pub­lic school in Bal­ti­more County qual­ify for meal as­sis­tance.

“If folks know of any place where kids who might be hun­gry are gath­er­ing dur­ing the sum­mer, th­ese pro­grams are free to all par­tic­i­pants,” McCauley said.

There are al­ready more than 10 sum­mer meal lo­ca­tions in Dun­dalk. To lo­cate the clos­est lo­ca­tion to you, visit md­sum­mer­meals.org.

PHOTO BY MIA MCCASLIN

Former NFL player Brad Jack­son poses with 8-year-old fan, Josiah Ee­shawn, who is wear­ing the player’s Su­per­bowl ring.

PHOTO BY MIA MCCASLIN

Kara Panowitz of Mary­land No Kid Left Hun­gry (left), sup­ports Brooke McCauley of Mary­land Hunger So­lu­tions (right) as she im­plores the room to spread the word about the pro­grams.

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