T he Whitehall Recreation Center is offering a free lunch program for children and adults throughout the summer.
Organizers will prepare and serve lunch to anyone who is interested.
“It’s completely free and open to the public,” said Julie Eagan, who works at the rec. center. “We won’t be checking income levels or anything like that. If you want to come, just stop by.”
Most meals will consist of sandwiches and a snack, although each Friday, Marie Monty from Cornell Cooperative Extension will teach and assist children with planning and preparing a healthy meal.
The program is being subsidized by donations made by businesses and individuals. Stephanie Safka, town councilor, said Freihofer’s has agreed to donate products they are unable to sell and Green Mountain Produce will be donating food each week. There has also been at least one monetary donation that will be used to purchase whichever additional products they need.
Besides helping fill the void that is created when school ends for the summer, the program has the potential to bring together children and seniors.
Safka says she envisions a 12-year-old sitting across from a 70-year-old, eating lunch together and enjoying conversation. It will hopefully increase the use of the recreation and senior center facilities, a goal Safka has been working toward.
The town recently decided to provide access to the senior center during rec. center hours so that it could be used by senior citizens on a more regular basis.
Safka hopes the lunch program will have a kind of crossover appeal, where people stop by for lunch and then stay for awhile and play cards or talk.
“If people are hungry for lunch, conversation, cards, come on down and do something,” she said.
Reservations will not be required. Anyone who would like to learn more, or make a donation to assist the program, can call the rec. center at 499-1280.