FARMINGTON — Members and friends of Old South First Congregational Church are again preparing to serve free lunches for five weeks starting Monday, June 26.

This year the lunch spot is moving from Bjorn Park, where it has been for the past two years, to 156 Maple Ave. in the backyard of Dennis and Janet O’Neil, corner of High Street and Maple Avenue, Chris Magri, moderator of Old South, said.

The meals will be offered from noon to 12:20 p.m. Monday through Thursday from June 26 through July 27. The meals will not be available on July 4 and 20, he said.

Old South partners with Regional School Unit 9 to offer the federal program administered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Meals are made and also served at the Mallett School from noon to 12:20. The school also serves free breakfast to children Monday through Thursday from 9 to 9:15 a.m.

Meals are offered free to any child between the ages 2 to 18 according to federal guidelines, Beth Hatcher, Old South lunch volunteer coordinator, said.

But, at the High Street meal site, the church also provides a free lunch to any adult accompanying a child to the meal, she said.

All lunches must be eaten at the meal site.

Meals are basically hot-lunch style with a protein, fruit and vegetable. The menu often includes pizza or chicken nuggets, she said.

Volunteers from Old South and other congregations serve the meal and offer a book and puzzle wagon. Children can borrow books or sometimes volunteers read to the children or visit with the families, she said.

There were some faithful participants who came to Bjorn Park most days, some came only once or twice, she said. It was a medium-to-light turnout so the church’s Outreach, Justice & Witness team, which sponsors the meal site, decided to move the location.

The new site is still close enough for children on lower High Street to attend and hopefully more from around the area of the Maple-High streets will come, Magri said.

Statistics show for every six children eligible for free or reduced lunches, only one child gets it in the summer program because there are not enough sites, he said.

Last year, about 25 volunteers helped serve meals during the five weeks, Hatcher said. She expects about the same this year. It takes about an hour to set up, serve and visit with the children. Anyone who would like to volunteer can contact Hatcher at 207-645-5192.

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Old South First Congregational Church

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