BCPL cel­e­brates sum­mer meal pro­gram

The Dundalk Eagle - - FRONT PAGE - By GIANNA DECARLO gde­carlo@ches­pub.com

“It’s hard to have sum­mer fun on an empty stom­ach,” was the mes­sage pro­moted at the Sum­mer Meals Cel­e­bra­tion held at the Rosedale branch li­brary on Thurs­day, July 19. The event aimed to raise aware­ness and sup­port for the Sum­mer Food Ser­vice Pro­gram which pro­vides free meals to Bal­ti­more County chil­dren dur­ing the sum­mer.

“Sum­mer is sup­posed to be a time for fun, but for some kids that don’t have ac­cess to meals, it can be a time of stress,” said Kara Panowitz, a se­nior man­ager at No Kids Left Hun­gry Maryland.

The Bal­ti­more County Sum­mer and Af­ter School Meal Meal Coali­tion was formed to fo­cus on the well­be­ing of area stu­dents by pro­vid­ing free and nu­tri­tious meals through­out the County.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion is made up of school staff and rep­re­sen­ta­tives, meal spon­sors, county agen­cies, po­lit­i­cal of­fi­cials, and non-prof­its, and is mon­i­tored by the State Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion.

The coali­tion, said Panowitz, was started 4 years ago and “has come a long way and has re­ally helped us in­crease ac­cess to kids who are get­ting meals dur­ing the sum­mer and also af­ter school.”

Lunches are pro­vided Mon­day through Fri­day at area branches of the Bal­ti­more County Pub­lic Li­brary from Wed­nes­day, June 20 – Fri­day, Au­gust 24, and both break­fast and lunch will be served at se­lect schools from Mon­day, July 9 – Fri­day, Au­gust 3.

“There’s a lot of need in Bal­ti­more County,” said Coun­cil­woman Cathy Bevins (D-6).

In the school year 2017-18, 43.79% of Bal­ti­more County stu­dents were el­i­gi­ble for free or re­duced lunches, which adds up to around 49,941 stu­dents. How­ever, the num­ber of meals served since the pro­gram be­gan has in­creased. In the sum­mer of 2017, around 348,000 meals were served, up from 122,000 in pre­vi­ous years.

Bevins added that there is still work to be done since many lo­cal fam­i­lies don’t know the pro­grams ex­ist. She en­cour­aged the crowd to spread the word.

The star of the event was Qadry Is­mail, a for­mer Bal­ti­more Ravens wide re­ceiver. Is­mail said the free meal pro­gram was im­por­tant to him be­cause he has many fond mem­o­ries spend­ing sum­mer in the li­brary, eating meals and mak­ing friends.

“These af­ter­care pro­grams in the sum­mer are so vi­tal and so crit­i­cally im­por­tant for all our com­mu­ni­ties, to help our young kids grow to be strong, and be able to be the next gen­er­a­tion of change.”

The pro­vided break­fast will con­sist of a ce­real bar, a break­fast bar, or a muf­fin served with fruit or juice, and milk. For lunch, the pro­gram of­fers a deli sand­wich, fruit or veg­etable, juice or frozen treat, and milk.

Ten Bal­ti­more County li­braries pro­vide free meals.

“We know that for kids to be well-read, they need to be well-fed,” said Natalie Ed­ing­ton, the as­sis­tant di­rec­tor of BCPL.

Bal­ti­more County Pub­lic Schools and Bal­ti­more County Pub­lic Li­brary are equal op­por­tu­nity providers. Ac­cep­tance and par­tic­i­pa­tion re­quire­ments for the pro­gram and all ac­tiv­i­ties are

the same for all re­gard­less of race, color, na­tional ori­gin, sex, age, or dis­abil­ity. Par­tic­i­pat­ing lo­ca­tions in­clude:

Es­sex branch, 1110 Eastern Blvd., 21221, at 1 p.m.

North Point branch, 1716 Mer­ritt Blvd., 21222, at 12 p.m.

Rosedale branch, 6105 Ken­wood Ave., 21237, at

12:30 p.m.

White Marsh branch, 8133 Sand­piper Cir., 21236, at 12 p.m.

Bear Creek Ele­men­tary, 1601 Mel­bourne Rd. – Break­fast, 8:30 a.m. & Lunch, 12 p.m.

Chase Ele­men­tary, 1170 Eastern Ave. – Break­fast, 9:15 a.m. & Lunch, 12:45 p.m.

Deep Creek Ele­men­tary, 1101 East Homberg Ave. – Break­fast, 8:30 a.m. & Lunch, 12 p.m.

Grange Ele­men­tary, 2000 Church Rd. – Break­fast, 9:15 a.m. & Lunch, 12:45 p.m.

Ho­labird Mid­dle, 1701 Del­vale Ave. – Break­fast, 7:45 a.m. & Lunch, 11:15 a.m.

Lo­gan Ele­men­tary, 7601 Dun­man­way – Break­fast, 8:30 a.m. & Lunch, 12 p.m.

Norwood Ele­men­tary, 1700 Del­vale Ave. – Break­fast, 9:15 a.m. & Lunch, 12:45 p.m.

Oak­leigh Ele­men­tary, 1900 White Oak Ave. –Break­fast, 8:30 a.m. & Lunch, 12 p.m.

San­dal­wood Ele­men­tary, 900 South Mar­lyn Ave. – Break­fast, 8:30 a.m. & Lunch, 12 p.m.

Qadry Is­mail, a for­mer Bal­ti­more Ravens wide re­ceiver, poses with chil­dren at the Rosedale Li­brary.

The event’s other spe­cial guest was a 4 week old calf from Fawn View Farm. One of the event spon­sors was the Amer­i­can Dairy As­so­ci­a­tion North East.

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