Thursday, 28 July 2016

Free Lunch Held at Girard Church

By Jennifer Ball

Free lunch

Mallory Vetterhoffer, 20, and Ginger Weaver stand in the kitchen of the First Baptist Church, getting the free lunches ready.

Ginger Weaver works in the kitchen at Girard’s First Baptist Church to help with the free breakfasts and lunches held Monday through Friday. Breakfast is held 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Lunch is served noon to 1 p.m. Karen Sutton also helps out with the free meals, but was on vacation this week.

“It’s fun to see the kids and to cook,” Weaver said. “I like to cook, and I like knowing they have a good lunch.”

The kids are able to eat vegetables, meats, milk, and treats like muffins. Tuesday they were serving chicken nuggets, nachos, muffins, and even had a birthday cake.

This is the second year that Weaver was helping with the program. It has been in existence for three years, organizers said.

“It brings people together and is helping the community,” Weaver said. “It’s also convenient for their parents. They can drop them off, and they can have breakfast.”

Twenty-year-old Alyssa Meyers is the director of the summer camp held at First Baptist Church. “There’s a lot of kids who wouldn’t get lunch,” Meyers said. “The older kids can come who are not involved in the camp.”

The camp encompasses children pre-K to fifth grade. The campers are able to go on field trips every Wednesday. They have gone to the community pool, the bowling alley, the

Free lunch

Camp director Alyssa Meyers cuts birthday cake for the children to eat for dessert.

Carlinville Historical Society, and a farm. When the community pool is closed, they will go to a hotel and swim there. They were planning to go to Springfield for some field trips, but had to cancel due to lack of transportation.

Meyers is enrolled at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, studying psychology and business. She has also lived in Girard her entire life.

The camp has been in existence for five or six years, Meyers said. The first year, they only had 25 kids signed up. This year, they had 80 kids registered and average about 40 kids per day that actually come to camp.

Meyers has directed the camp for the past four years. Her first year working with the camp, she was a co-director.

She finds the job to be rewarding. “There are some days you learn about the kids’ backgrounds, and you know you’re helping,” she said. “Providing the camp the whole summer is really great because you know you’re making a difference in their lives.”

The summer camp runs five days a week from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. But, they also have an extended care program that runs from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., which is like a daycare.

Free lunch

The kids sit in the church basement at tables and chairs, eating their free lunches.

It is clear that Meyers is very involved in her community. Last summer, she was voted Teen Citizen of the Year. She helped with the food pantry a lot. She also helped start a recycling program at the church. “I’m pretty proud of that,” she said. “We were just throwing away too much.”

Source: Free Lunch Held at Girard Church Free Lunch Held at Girard Church

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