PIQUA — The Salvation Army will be kicking off its 20th annual Summer Feeding Program on Monday, June 6. The 11-week program will operate Mondays through Fridays until Aug. 19. Children from infants through kids 18 years old, will qualify for the free, nutritious meals at lunchtime.
“It’s important because, without it, children may not have much-needed meals,” Major Earline May, commander of the Piqua Salvation Army, said.
“Some kids, we find, only get one meal a day,” May said. “With these meals, the Salvation Army is able to provide some much-needed nutrition for the kids in the community.”
Last year, the Salvation Army served around 9,930 meals during the summer feeding program. “Each year, we probably notice a 10 percent increase over … the year prior,” May said.
May anticipates that nearly 200 children will be served daily. She said that serving several hundred children may seem overwhelming, but that only represents around 50 percent of those who normally qualify for free or reduced meals during the normal school year. When summer vacation begins, many families who fall into the category of the “working poor” may not be able to afford three meals a day.
The Salvation Army van is scheduled to make six stops each day, Monday through Friday, at the following locations:
• Paris Court, 10:55-11:10 a.m.
• Shawnee neighborhood at Central Baptist Church, 11:20-11:35 a.m.
• Washington Commons, 11:45-11:55 a.m.
• Piqua Village, noon to 12:10 p.m.
• Kiwanis Park, 12:45-1 p.m.
• Das Park, 1:05-1:20 p.m.
In addition to those stops, free lunches for children will also be served at the Salvation Army from 11:30 a.m. to noon. The Salvation Army is located at 129 S. Wayne St. in Piqua.
“We do provide a personal hygiene pantry,” May said. They provide items like laundry detergent, dishwashing soaps, toilet paper, deodorant, and other cleaning supplies. They also provide free bread daily and free pizza on Thursdays.
“We’d be happy to receive any monetary (donation),” May said.
As for food, the Salvation Army will take items as long as they are not outdated or expired. Donations can be dropped off at the Salvation Army Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
The Salvation Army is also partnered with many organizations who help volunteer during the summer feeding program, including the Piqua United Way, Truvine Church, Piqua Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs, Piqua Public Schools, and other individuals.
“They engage themselves and help the Salvation Army accomplish what we need to accomplish during the summer,” May said.