BURRILLVILLE – In 2018, Burrillville’s Summer Meals program provided around 1,000 free lunches to hungry kids in Harrisville.
And when the program starts up again next month, kids in Pascoag will also the chance to grab an afternoon bite, thanks to a statewide program funded through the federal government that aims to ensure that no child goes hungry over the summer.
Kids visiting Jesse Smith Memorial Library or Veterans Park in Pascoag will have access to free lunches Monday through Friday, from noon to 1 p.m. Anyone under the age of 18 can benefit from the program, and there is no eligibility or proof of residence requirement.
The program will run from Monday, July 9 into August, and lunches will generally consist of a sandwich, fruit and a drink. All will comply with federally mandated nutrition guidelines.
The program is run through Healthy Kids, Healthy Community, Healthy Rhode Island, and sponsored in around a dozen communities across the state.
In Rhode Island, the program provides an average of over 300,000 meals during the summer at no cost, with help from around 25 sponsors.
Burrillville’s program launched last year, providing an estimated 1,000 lunches at a single site at the Stillwater Mills Pavilion. This year, there will be hired staff assisting volunteers as it expands to the second location.
“The anticipation is that it will expand exponentially this year,” said Supt. Michael Sollitto.
The program is open to every child in town under the age of 18 and the only requirement is that lunches must be consumed at the pavilion and cannot be taken “to go.”