Summer program to offer free and nutritious lunches to children

JACKSON, Wyo. — In the continued pursuit of its mission to reduce food waste and cultivate food security in Teton County, Hole Food Rescue is introducing to the community its newest initiative: the Sprout Summer Lunch Program. The Sprout Program will offer children free and nutritious lunches, as well as books and take-home activity kits, all summer long.

Starting June 15 and continuing through August 28, the Sprout program will service the following six locations daily, Monday through Friday:

  • Blair Place Apartments: 12-12:30 p.m.
  • Evans Mobile Home Park: 12-12:30 p.m.
  • Mike Yokel Park: 10-10:30 a.m.
  • Powderhorn Park: 11-11:30 a.m.
  • TC Library: 12-12:30 p.m.
  • The Timbers: 12:45-1:15 p.m.

Children at these locations will receive a free lunch that includes an entree, fruit, vegetable, and a treat. Throughout the week, children can look forward to treats from Healthy Being Cafe and Juicery and Wild Flour Bakery.

This collaboration embodies Hole Food Rescue’s goal to make these offerings as nutritious and delicious as possible! The Sprout Summer Lunch Program will utilize a converted cargo van (the “Sprout Mobile”) to deliver lunches directly to children.

Free lunches for children this summer will include an entree, fruit, vegetable and a treat. Photo: Teton Literacy Center

Hole Food Rescue piloted the Sprout Program last summer, providing meals to children attending summer camp on scholarship through One22’s Unified Summer Scholarship program. Due to the success of the pilot, Hole Food Rescue set its sights on expanding the program to benefit more children of the community during the summer of 2020.

The goal of this program is to ensure that no child in the community goes hungry over the summer while also curbing the “summer slide.” According to the Healthy Teton County 2018 Health Needs Assessment, 10 percent of Teton County residents are food insecure.

Furthermore, the ALICE Project run by United Way found that 4.5 percent of Teton County residents live under the poverty line and an additional 27.8 percent fall into the ALICE category (Asset Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed).

ALICE represents the growing number of employed individuals and families who earn above the government criteria to apply for assistance yet are unable to afford basic necessities such as housing, food, and healthcare.

During the summer months, many children of these food-insecure and ALICE families are left at home while their guardians are working multiple jobs and long hours. Achievements gained during the previous school year are slowly lost due to a lack of education, nutrition and interaction, which is collectively known as the “summer slide.”

Hole Food Rescue will be providing free and nutritious lunches to children throughout the summer. Photo: Orijin Media

“More than 17 percent of children in our community rely on free and reduced-price meal programs for their daily nutritional needs during the school year,” says Ali Milburn, Hole Food Rescue Founder and Executive Director. “When school is not in session, these children are likely missing those meals altogether.”

In addition, participants will have access to a library of free books, available at different reading levels, which they can take home for continued summertime learning. These books have been made available by community member donations and via collaboration with the Teton County Library.

Hole Food Rescue has also partnered with Jackson Hole Public Art, the Art Association of Jackson Hole and GAP! to offer free activity kits to take home (available at select locations on a rotating schedule).

Be on the lookout for the Sprout Mobile this summer! Stay up to date on the program schedule, or make a donation to fuel the program’s continuation, by visiting www.holefoodrescue.org/sprout.

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