Free summer meals program at area libraries

Mason County Library Director Pam Thompson, left, and Sarah Gibbs stand behind one of the meals that will be served to children free of charge this summer during a “Read and Feed” program. The meals will be offered at New Haven, Mason and Point Pleasant.

Libraries in New Haven, Mason and Point Pleasant, pictured here, will be hosting a “Read and Feed” program this summer.

MASON COUNTY — Three libraries in Mason County will be hosting a “Read and Feed” program this summer that will not only nourish children’s minds, but their bellies as well.

Pam Thompson, county library director, said the New Haven, Mason and Point Pleasant libraries will be taking part in the program, which runs from Monday, June 15 through Friday, July 31.

In addition to its regular summer reading program, “Every Hero has a Story,” lunch will be provided free of charge to the children. The sack lunches are packaged by JA Food Service and are provided through the West Virginia Department of Agriculture. Mason County’s sponsor is the Facing Hunger Food Bank of Huntington.

Thompson said any child age one through 18 years can take advantage of the free food program, regardless of income. Adults can purchase a meal for $4.

Children can choose one of four lunches. Selections will include meals of a beef stick and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, canned chicken or canned tuna. The meals also include various crackers, nuts, chips, apple sauce, a fruit juice box, and milk. Thompson said a basket will also be provided where children can swap items they may not like.

The librarian said the only rule of the lunch program is if a child takes a protein and milk from the lunches, they must be eaten on-site. All other food items can be taken home. This is to ensure each child is getting the proper nutrition.

Thompson said the days will be filled with fun activities for the children as well, such as story time, crafts and Lego days. Other snacks, like popcorn and popsicles will also be provided.

In Point Pleasant, lunches will be provided at the library Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The New Haven Library will serve the lunches from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday. The lunches will be available on Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the New Haven United Methodist Church.

In Mason, lunches will be served at the library from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday through Friday.