By Megan Kelley
Lake Orion, while often viewed as a relatively well-off area, holds a population of students in danger of food insecurity.
Lake Orion Community Schools itself has almost 1,700 students who receive free or reduced lunch throughout the school year, said Dawn Ames, the Director of Family Ministry at Lake Orion United Methodist Church.
Because Lake Orion does not qualify for the Michigan Department of Education’s “Eat Up and Meet Up” program, the community must take alternative steps in order to support those families that are in need, she said..
Blessings in a Brown Bag functions similarly to “Meals on Wheels” and therefore eliminates the need for students to find transportation to “Eat Up and Meet Up” locations in nearby towns, the closest being Oxford.
Last summer, 2,700 lunches were delivered throughout the district, Ames said.
The church relies on donations and volunteers to help to program be successful.
The cost of providing lunches is $170 per student for the whole summer. With the goal of providing nutritious lunches for 170 students, the program needs about $30,000 in order to make it happen.
“We follow protein, carb, vegetable, fruit and milk…it’s nutritious food and there’s a lot of it, it’s not a stingy amount…this would serve a high school child, with leftovers,” said Ames. “What we’re kind of hoping is that there’s food leftover for another meal, or for parents that don’t have food.”
The church also requires volunteers to prepare, pack and deliver each of the lunches.
Delivery services this year will start on June 17 and end on Aug. 30 (with the exception of July 4).
Delivery drivers receive background checks, preparers need to follow the health code and packers are taught specific ways on how to pack the lunches. Because of this, the church is hoping to get volunteers who can commit to volunteering once a week, or so.
Those interested in helping can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for additional details and training dates.
Individuals who would like to donate can do so by delivering or sending cash or checks to the church or donate online at www.lakeorionumc.org
If you or someone you know is interested in applying to be a part of the program, please contact BBBfreelunch@gmail.com for an application.