Helps Make Summer Lunch Ministry Possible
At Upland Baptist Church
Link to a picture video of this event
During the school year, thousands of low income students eat free or reduced priced meals at school. But when school closes for the summer, and kids don’t receive these meals, they face higher risk of hunger and malnutrition. The Summer Lunch is a federally funded program that provides nourishing meals for children under the age of 18. Upland Baptist Church has been a qualified feeding site for five years.
In 2014, we changed the name of our program to “Summer Lunch and Fun” --- adding a special activity for each day. This summer we ran out program from Monday through Thursday for seven weeks.
Every morning began with an activity period from 11:00 to 11:45. Each Monday the kids gathered on the church lawn to play games like water balloon catch, water relay races, and pool noodle hockey. Tuesday was craft day…paints, glitter, beads, and feathers. Each child got the same ingredients, but every creation ended up being as unique as each child! Kids and adult volunteers got together on Wednesday to play board games. On Thursday, kids were encouraged to choose a book from our library and borrow it for a week. Thursdays also featured a special guest...
- Volunteers from the Upland Fire Company arrived to tell us about their jobs and show us the equipment they use.
- Upland’s Mayor Bill Dennon came to explain his job to the kids and make a personal connection with them.
- Pastor Kevin Walden skillfully led the kids across the Jordan River when he presented a fun Gospel lesson.
- We were happy to meet the two 8-week-old puppies from the Providence Animal Center in Media. The Providence volunteers also gave the kids a good lesson about pet care and safety.
- Leon Jordan, a professional percussionist, was sent to us by Musicopia to conduct a “bucket drum” assembly. Drumsticks in hand, each child got to participate in this wonderful program.
We served the kids their boxed lunch from 11:45 to 12:15. Popcorn chicken was the top favorite with barbecue chicken wrap coming in second. Jicama sticks received a big thumbs down.
We started a “Memory Verse Challenge” this summer. The kids put together a book with a page for each Bible verse and illustrated what it meant to them.
We served an average of 20 children each day. Most kids were between 6 and 12 years old. Several teenage girls brought their little preschool siblings every day, too.
Everyone who volunteered this summer agrees that each day was a blessing. By God’s grace, we supplied our neighborhood children with a good meal. We introduced them to new experiences and caring people. Our church was a happy and safe place for them to learn that Jesus loves them --- and so do we!