Enfield-A popular free summer lunch program for kids will open in June under new management. ERfC (Educational Resources for Children, Inc.), will expand its summer offerings to include the Summer Lunch Bunch program for nine weeks at St. Patrick’s Parish Hall on Pearl Street in Thompsonville.
Entering its fourth year, Summer Lunch Bunch has been overseen by The Enfield Food Shelf and a collaborative team of agencies and volunteers throughout Connecticut. Linda Bridge, Executive Director of the Enfield Food Shelf said, "We are delighted that ERfC has the resources to provide the Lunch Bunch program with a longer term home which will allow it to continue to grow and serve the children of our community."
Summer Lunch Bunch, a USDA sponsored free lunch outreach program for children ages 18 and under, is scheduled to begin on June 24 and operate Monday through Friday until August 23rd. Claire Hall, ERfC Executive Director, said "Summer Lunch Bunch is a perfect fit for ERfC. We look forward to working with the Enfield Food Shelf and all the many volunteers who support this needed initiative."
United Way of North Central Connecticut Advisory Board Chair, Karen Jarmoc, said "The Enfield Summer Lunch Bunch is a perfect example of community collaborators coming together to successfully meet a significant need. Growing numbers year over year demonstrate just how meaningful this program is to Enfield area children. Enfield Summer Lunch Bunch increases the capacity of children to lead healthy and productive lives and we are pleased to be a part of this puzzle."
Hall said not many changes are planned for the popular summer program. Roger LeBlanc, from Enfield, will continue to organize and lead the program as the Volunteer Project Coordinator. "I’m excited to work with ERfC as we continue to develop and grow this critical need program for our children", said LeBlanc.
LeBlanc added that over the past 3 years, Lunch Bunch has evolved into a very effective summer free lunch program for children. " With ERfC as the new facilitator, I am confident that the project will assist more children and their families with not only daily lunches for kids, but with added support services," he said.
LeBlanc said the project has received local, regional, and national recognition because of its effectiveness and the scope of non-profit agencies and community involvement and contributions.
Summer Lunch Bunch will operate this summer from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM. In addition to boxed lunches and drinks, provided by the Connecticut Renewal Team (CRT) in Hartford, LeBlanc said there will be an expanded list of crafts, games, and special activities for children beginning at 11:00 AM. Lunch will be served from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM. Because this is an open-site, registration is not required to participate. "Children 18 and under can just stop by for the free activities and lunches. Parents are encouraged to attend with their young children, but this is not a requirement, he added.
Community agencies and volunteers will staff a parent information center with information about health, nutrition, and physical activities. Special information programs for families are also being planned. LeBlanc said Foodshare SNAP outreach volunteers will assist with the processing of applications for assistance on alternate Fridays beginning on July 6. ERfC staff will also provide information on out-of-school time programs, help with fall after- school registrations, and assist with Care4Kids applications.
In addition to the Enfield Food Shelf, United Way of North Central CT, and CRT, additional members of the collaborative include CT No Kid Hungry/End Hunger Connecticut, Foodshare, Enfield Neighborhood Services, Enfield Social Services, St. Patrick’s Church, and United Way of Central and Northeastern CT.
ERfC, a community-based non-profit organization, has been providing academic, enrichment, and recreational out-of-school time (OST) programs for the Enfield community since 1994.
ERfC currently manages OST Programs at Barnard, Enfield Street, Eli Whitney, and Hazardville elementary schools and at JFK Middle School. The Barnard and Enfield Street School-Age Centers also serve Crandall and Parkman Schools. Additionally, ERfC also operates
Vacation Destination at Enfield Street School when schools are closed and the six-week Summer Escape Day Camp from July 1st through August 9th.
For more information about ERfC and how to register for School-Age Programs call 860-253-9935 or email email@example.com. Online registration information can also be found on the ERfC website www.erfc.us.