Reported by Trelle Burdeniuk
First Posted: Aug 28, 2012 1:21pm

The Summer Snack Program has just wrapped up its 24th year of serving lunches to hundreds of Saskatoon kids and families in need.

"(The kids) are hungry when they come, they eat a lot. They look forward to it and they run to the cars and help us unload the food," said Kelly Harrington, president of the Saskatoon and District Labour Council (SDLC), which runs the program.

Harrington said the simple meal often includes fruits some of the children haven't ever tasted.

"It's the first time they've even seen a fruit like cantaloupe or honeydew melon and sometimes even a Christmas orange. They don't even know what that is."

But it isn't only children who rely on this program, set up in Optimist, Pleasant Hill, Meadow Green and Confederation Parks and West Mount School, more adults are also coming.

"We really noticed a difference in 2008 ... when the housing market went skyhigh and rent was so incredibly high. Since that time, we've had a lot of adults actually utilize the program. Prior to that, it had been mainly children."

She said entire families will come, with some mothers even filling up their baby bottles with the milk provided.

"Our program keeps expanding which isn't necessarily a good thing because it means that the need continues to grow as well."

The expansion this year, with help from a grant from the City of Saskatoon, allowed the SDLC to open up their fifth location in Confederation Park.

The program also relies on many local businesses for the supply of food.

Harrington said while this program does provide food, it also provides mentorship from the co-ordinators who bond with the children.

"They form these strong relationships," said Harrington of the co-ordinators who serve lunch and get to know the children. "(On) our final day of the program, there were a few tears shed and a few hugs exchanged."

The program will enter its 25th year in the summer of 2013. The SDLC is looking at adding an extra week of lunches at that time as school now doesn't start until after Labour Day.

Other lunch programs in the city also help feed children during the summer including the Salvation Army.


Original story posted here: http://www.ckom.com/story/summer-lunch-program-feeding-saskatoons-hungry-kids/72166

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pdfNOTE: Date Changes to the 2017-18 Vacation of the Month Lotto

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