As we make our summer plans, we are mindful that hunger does not take a vacation and can be easily overlooked. It rarely announces itself in public.
According to the Wisconsin Food Security Project, in 2015 more than a third of students in four public schools in the Portage Community School District were estimated to be eligible for free or reduced cost lunches; 33% in Portage High School, 45% in Wayne Bartels Middle School, 48% in Woodridge Elementary and 48% at Woodridge Elementary.
Since 2014, the Portage Summer Lunch Program has offered kids 18 and younger the guarantee of a free lunch Monday through Friday throughout summer vacation. Last year, we served more than 5,000 lunches and with the help of volunteers and community support we have entered the fifth year of this program, serving lunches June 12 through Aug. 30.
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Still, we need your support. If you would like to help, find out about volunteer opportunities and meal schedules at the Portage Summer Lunch Program Facebook page or visit columbia.extension.wisc.edu/summer-lunch-program/interested-in-volunteering.
Jonathan Stefonek, Portage Summer Lunch Program Committee, Portage