MASON COUNTY — With overwhelming numbers of children participating in the summer lunch program at the Mason County Library System, Director Pam Thompson has announced that staff will continue to serve the free lunches until school begins.
The lunch program has been operating at the Point Pleasant, Mason and New Haven libraries throughout the summer. Thompson said in Point Pleasant alone, over 1,000 lunches have been served.
“We felt the need was there to continue the lunches, because so many children are utilizing them,” Thompson said. “There is one man in a local apartment who has five kids, and he said trying to feed them was unreal.”
The library system’s Summer Reading Program ended last week, which usually signifies the end of the lunch program. Thompson said both programs have benefitted families and the local libraries, as well, because a lot of parents have been bringing their children to the library this summer, and participating in the programs with them.
“We have had more people in the library since the lunch program started,” she added.
Thompson said once school begins, after-school snacks will be provided with leftover food from the program until the supplies are exhausted. Plans are in the works, however, to begin a full-time after-school snack program on days when the libraries are open in their respective towns.
Lunches will be served each weekday until school starts, then the libraries will resume their fall/winter schedules. They are available to children and teens up to 18 years old, regardless of parents’ incomes.
There were new choices for the free lunches this year, which Thompson said she feels added to the program. Prior to this summer, bagged lunches were served that contained items such as canned chicken salad, beef and cheese sticks, and other foods. This year’s offerings were frozen meals that included Smuckers “Uncrustables” (hand-held peanut butter and jelly sandwiches), chicken and turkey sandwiches, cheese, apple sauce, chips, and other items.
For more information on the lunches, or programs offered at the libraries, contact the Point Pleasant library at 304-675-0894, Mason library at 304-773-5580, or New Haven library at 304-882-3252.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org