MASON COUNTY — Free lunches and snacks for children will once again be offered this summer at Mason County’s libraries, and thanks to a grant from the Robert and Louise Claflin Foundation, the library staff is more prepared than ever.
A “Kid Café” has been established at each library location, Point Pleasant, Mason and New Haven, funded through the over $14,000 Claflin grant.
The grant provided new tables, chairs, child-size picnic tables, and storage cabinets at all locations. In addition, new flooring was funded in the eating and surrounding area at the New Haven Library, and the Mason and Point Pleasant libraries received new stoves and freezers.
The lunches will be offered each weekday at all libraries from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., according to Pam Thompson, library director. They are free for children up to 18 years, regardless of the income of parents.
Thompson said last year, an average of 30 children were fed daily at the libraries. Having served the lunches for the past several years, the director added the menu is constantly growing.
This year, lunches offered will be turkey or chicken sandwiches, beans and franks, sun butter, chicken salad, meat and cheese sticks, and others. One of the most popular lunches will once again return, according to Thompson, the frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, better known as “Uncrustables.” Each entrée is accompanied by side items, plus milk and juice.
New to the program will be the addition of an afternoon snack, served from 2 to 4 p.m. daily. Offerings will include honey, chocolate or vanilla graham crackers, animal crackers, and cheese cups, plus fresh fruit.
The lunch and snack program is a way to ensure that children receive a nutritious meal during the months when school is not in session, Thompson said. It will coincide with the Summer Reading Program held at the libraries.
The reading program encourages the children to read, thus keeping their skills sharp throughout the summer, while also offering games, crafts, prizes and entertainment. Both the reading and meal programs will begin the day after school is dismissed in Mason County, June 12.
For more information on library programs, contact the Point Pleasant Library at 304-675-0894, the Mason Library at 304-773-5580, or the New Haven Library at 304-882-3252.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.