OSKALOOSA — Several volunteers gathered at the First Central United Methodist Church Monday to help serve food to children in need.
The Summer Food Service Program, which is part of a bigger effort to help ensure that children don’t go hungry, is mandated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. There are three sites in Oskaloosa for the program that started Monday and runs through Aug. 15 — Central United Methodist Church, Edmundson Park, near the wooden playground, and New Hope Free Methodist Church, 821 Eighth Ave. E. The meals are served on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from noon to 1 p.m.
The guidelines states that every child qualifies for the program up to the age of 18.
Martha Comfort, who was one of the volunteers, said that all the food must meet strict guidelines and that the food must be healthy.
“We have to comply with the USDA for a nutritious lunch,” Comfort said. She also indicated you have to set aside time to calculate how many people are being served.
“This process is to ensure the USDA knows how much funding to set aside,” Comfort said.
Some of the foods offered on the menu included fruits and vegetables, whole-grain bread with lean turkey and there were also other vital nutritious foods like apples and low-fat milk as a beverage. In terms of expected guests, Comfort implied they hoped to serve 50 individuals. In addition, Comfort said that much of the food that was bought and prepared for the guests, came from stores like Walmart HyVee and Fareway.
“We want to make sure they eat, at the same time, we also want them to make sure its fun,” Comfort said. She said if the turnout is high this year, they will try to host the event again next year.
There are also volunteers who have donated their time to serve for this worthy cause.
“Right now, we have over 100 people that have signed up,” she said
Dawn Deffenbaugh, volunteer, was also thrilled to be apart of this occasion.
“Its very meaningful and its very important work. My daughter is with me and I will be able to teach her community service. I think that is really important,” Deffenbaugh said.
City Editor Jonathan R. Pitman can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org