School may be out for the summer but lunches for kids are still being served at Boys & Girls Clubs of the Kenai Peninsula with 8,800 lunches being served during the month of June alone, according to executive director Heather Schloeman, “We participate in the summer foods service program for kids in our areas. Meals are available free to all children 18 years of age and younger regardless of income. We’re serving breakfast and lunch at several of our sites and supper and snacks at our teen sites,” she told the Dispatch. Schloeman explained that the free meal program was not in jeopardy due to announced state budget cuts, “We had asked for funding to do a kitchen upgrade at our Kenai unit, which is in need of renovations and we were hoping to receive funding from the state for that. We are serving about 100 to 120 meals a day out of that kitchen, but we are making it work with what we have so we are okay not getting the grant,” she said.
Schloeman added, “Boys & Girls Clubs are happy to be feeding kids during the summer months through the Summer Food Service Program. Meals will be made available free to all children including members and non-members at their Clubs and Teen Centers from Nikiski to Soldotna. These programs help reduce hunger and combat childhood obesity over the summer months as well as support educational and enrichment programs that keep children safe, learning and engaged during out of school time. Boys & Girls Clubs served over 8,800 meals to local youth during the month of June alone. They also participate in Child Nutrition Programs in their after school programs during the school year offering suppers and/or snacks daily to Club members. The Club plays a powerful role in making summer a time not only for learning and developmental gains for members; but also making sure they are providing a welcoming and safe environment where kids can have fun and be themselves . Kids get to participate in field trips, social recreation, fun activities and special events on site and in the community. We are currently looking for kids to participate in our annual Take Our Kids Fishing Event in August as well as upcoming volleyball and basketball camps. Our teen leadership members are always looking for the chance to help out and volunteer in the community,” she said.
The Summer Meals Act of 2015 introduced by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Representatives Don Young (R-AK) and Rick Larsen (D-WA), will strengthen, protect, and expand access to the Summer Nutrition Programs. “If this bill is passed, it will allow us to feed an even greater population of youth in our communities. It will also allow us to serve a third meal to children during the summer months when our programs run from 7:30 am- 6:00 pm,” confirmed Schloeman. For more information regarding Boys Girls Clubs programs call 907-283-2682 or visit them on the web at www.bgckp.com. You can also get a snapshot of the fun they’re having during the summer months by checking them out on Facebook.