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Summer Food Service Program Provides 9,500 Meals

Some of the many workers and volunteers who helped make the Milford Summer Food Program a success are, l-r: Kiara Farias, Cristielly Prado, Moss Lynch, Joe Carneiro, Lisa Recchia, AnnMarie Kinhart, Kimberly Mu-Chow. Contributed photo





Over 9,500 meals were distributed this summer in Milford thanks to a community-wide effort now in its third year.

The meals given as part of the Milford Summer Food Service Program – a program aimed at providing healthy food to kids and teens during the months they are away from school.

"Approximately 44 percent of students receive free or reduced lunch in Milford," said Milford Area Humanitarian Coalition Member Michael Kaplan during a recent School Committee Meeting. "We thought about what do those students do for lunch during the summer months?"

After running the program on their own for a year thanks to donations from the local community, the Milford Area Humanitarian Coalition teamed up with the Milford Public Schools Food Services team, and then in 2016, with the Hockomock Area YMCA.

"Teaming up with the Hockomock YMCA has been a blessing," said Kaplan. "It has allowed up to grow the program."

Over 100 volunteers worked at three different locations throughout Milford providing lunch, and for the first time this year, breakfast, to hundreds of Milford families.

"Not only meals, but also activities for the kids," said Kaplan. "It is morphing into something much bigger than just lunch."

The YMCA's Director of Community Wellness Mary Kate Bergen presented the data on this year's program, stating that the 9,500 meals was approximately 3,000 more than last year.

"It's really exciting for us to see this growing slowly but surely," said Bergen.

Another thing that grew this year was the number of volunteers, said Hockomock's Healthy Food Access Coordinator Shannon Nisbett.

"Milford Public School's had great representation for volunteers," she said. Six teachers, two school nurses and 1 retired teacher volunteered by serving meals during the program this summer, along with a number of MPS middle and high school students.

Four students were recognized during the School Committee Meeting for their volunteer work with the Summer Food Service Program. Cristielly de Souza Prado, Kiara Farias, Jennifer Wong, and Sabrinna Oliveira all volunteered more than 35 hours each during this summer and were presented with the Commitment to Service Award.

"These young ladies took excellent initiative, welcomed new teen volunteers, interacted with visiting kids and families..." said Nisbett. "I can't say enough good things about them."

For more information about the Summer Food Services Program go to their Facebook page "MILFORD SFSP."




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