COVINGTON — Children who may not be able to afford lunches during the summer months have not been forgotten. Covington Christian Church has been stepping forward with their “Food for Children” summer lunch program to help provide nourishment and connect with local children.
What prompted this local mission of providing lunches to Covington children was when a member of Covington Christian Church, who is also member of the Covington Board of Education, mentioned how some children may not be getting lunches over the summer.
“We decided… that we should have a way to meet that need,” Pastor Nathan Paulus of Covington Christian Church said. “We don’t have any requirements. It’s all local funding.”
Paulus explained that the program does not receive any government funding. Children who then benefit from the “Food for Children” summer lunch program are not required to meet certain stipulations before they are able to receive food.
“We try to reach most of our kids around here,” Paulus said, explaining how government assistance could have limited the scope of their program. “It’s really awesome that we can reach a few more kids.”
Paulus explained that they wanted to make sure that nobody “fell through the crack.”
“Everyone’s welcome,” Paulus said. “We’re all in this together.”
The summer feeding program is about more than just nourishment, though.
“We want them to know that they belong in our community,” Paulus said about the children in the neighborhood and in all of Covington. Covington Christian Church is hoping to provide not only physical sustenance, but spiritual sustenance as well.
“We wanted to make sure that, as a church, we did not separate the two,” Paulus said. The children have a Bible lesson or complete a faith-based activity, such as a game or craft, before the volunteers of the program serve lunch.
“The one thing we want to bring is God’s love,” a volunteer said on Monday, July 20. Children seem to be encountering something that is bringing them back. According to the volunteer, children’s church attendance at Covington Christian Church has doubled under Paulus’ direction and during the summer food program.
The “Food for Children” summer lunch program is held on every Monday. It has been going on since June 1 and will continue until August 17.
After the program on Monday, Christian Covington Church also gives each child a bag of groceries to take home to help feed them lunch for the rest of the week. The a bag of groceries contains a variety of possible items, including cereal, microwaveable macaroni and cheese, granola bars, apple sauce cups, bread, peanut butter, jelly, and more.
For lunch, a couple of the popular meals have been pancakes and sausage as well as walking tacos. The program has also begun to offer fresh fruits and vegetables. One volunteer explained how some of the children ask if they can bring some extra carrots and celery sticks or some extra water melon.
“Things you take for granted, these kids don’t,” the volunteer said.
In terms of support, Covington Christian Church has been “blessed.” The majority of the local funding they have received has come from the Covington Community Chest.
“They actually donated all of our proposed budget for the first year,” Paulus said. It is enough funding to finish off the summer.
“At this point, we have enough donations to get us through the rest of the summer,” Paulus said. “We have been blessed.” Covington Christian Church and volunteers of the “Food for Children” summer lunch program hope to continue this program in the future. Paulus explained that the church is open to other partnerships with other organizations or churches as the program continues to grow in the future.
The “Food for Children” summer lunch program is designed for children between two years of age up to 18 years of age. Children under six years old must be accompanied by an adult. It is held in the Covington Christian Church basement on Mondays from 12-1 p.m.
For participants, parents or guardians must sign a liability waiver and fill out an emergency contact form.
Covington Christian Church is located at 115 N. Pearl Street and can be contacted at (937) 473-3443. For questions, contact the church office.
Reach Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall