Heights Libraries serves up summer lunch and learning
Makayla Brumfield enjoys a carrot and some coloring sheets with mom Tonya Taylor and baby sister Mackenzie Brumfield at last year’s summer lunch program. Photo credit: Sheryl Banks
With the school year over, many children and teens in the Heights who rely on free or low-cost school lunches are potentially facing a hungry summer. To help prevent this, Heights Libraries is once again hosting the Cleveland Food Bank-sponsored free summer lunch program at the Lee Road Library through Aug. 10.
Heights Libraries’ partnership with the Cleveland Food Bank began in 2010 in response to the growing number of children spending long hours at the library, often without parental supervision. Also, large numbers of patrons, many of them parents with young children, were using library computers to apply for jobs and seek other employment resources.
“It became clear that we had a great opportunity to find a different way to serve families hard hit by the economy,” says Sam Lapides, Heights Libraries special projects manager and summer lunch program coordinator. “This program enables us to fill the crucial nutritional needs of local children while also offering opportunities for early literacy programming and services."
Along with lunch, the library will also serve up summer reading-related activities. Children and teens can read books, play games and sign up for reading programs while enjoying a healthy lunch.
“We served about 5,000 lunches in 2010 and 2011 combined,” said Nancy Levin, director of Heights Libraries. “Our library prides itself on being a social hub, a gathering place for the community, so the addition of a free lunch for our young customers just makes sense, and the numbers bear that out.”
Up to 250 lunches are served between noon and 1 p.m. every weekday through Aug. 10. All area children and youths up to age 18 are welcome. No registration is required.
For more information about the program, contact Sam Lapides at 216-932-3600, ext. 290. The Lee Road Library is located at 2345 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights.
Sheryl Banks is the marketing and community relations manager for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library.