Free Summer Lunch for Kids and Teens
The Free Summer Lunch for Kids and Teens program was launched in 2013 by Christ United Methodist Church to help address the need for a midday meal for kids in the Merrill area during the summer weeks when school was not in session.
In 2014, other churches in the community joined in and the program expanded to cover each weekday during the summer weeks of June, July, and August.
This summer volunteers from Our Saviour’s Lutheran, St. Stephens UCC, Christ UMC, Trinity Lutheran, and St. John’s Lutheran churches served 4,875 bag lunches to the youth of the community. That exceeds any number of meals the program has ever provided in the past.
Over the years of operation, the program has adapted to various changes that have come up. Most notably, since COVID-19 happened more than two years ago, the meals became brown bag lunches that could be picked up and taken home for the children to eat.
Another big change is the addition of the Merrill Community Food Pantry in providing some of the staple items for the lunches. Without the help that the Merrill Community Food Pantry provides, the churches would find it very difficult to continue to provide complete meals to the children and teens.
This year the program also received a very generous donation from Habitat for Humanity. In addition, Chips Hamburgers of Merrill donated items as needed.
The T.B. Scott Free Library also gave away books to youth as they stopped in to pick up their meals this past summer.
The Free Summer Lunch for Kids and Teens extends a very big Thank You to all who were involved in making this program such a success this summer.
This program could not serve the children and youth of the Merrill community without the continued participation of the volunteers from the churches involved, as well as the very generous contributions of community partners like the Food Pantry and area businesses. All look forward to being able to serve the needs of the local kids again next summer.