Wright City sign

The 2019 Summer Lunch Program, hosted by the Wright City Community Food Pantry, needs help supplying meals to hungry children this summer.

Donations are needed to fund the program. Volunteers are needed to help serve meals.

The group will provide a basic lunch weekdays between July 1 and Aug. 14, when school cafeterias in the Wright City School District are closed. When the cafeterias are closed, children who receive free meals at school are likely to go without nutritious meals at home.

“There are 6 1/2 weeks where there’s nothing,” said Pastor Joe Purl, who leads the Wright City Community Food Pantry. “Three things that the summer lunch program directly addresses with the underserved in Wright City are access to fresh food, transportation and helping needy families keep children fed.”

Volunteers with the Summer Lunch Program plan to serve about 40 lunches a day. A basic lunch will be a sandwich, bag of chips, piece of fruit and a bottle of water. Two volunteers are needed from 10 to 11:30 a.m. to help pack the meals and two volunteers are needed to serve them from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Meals will be served from Wright City North Apartments. They will feed school-aged children who live in or near the Wright City North, Brookview and Northridge apartments.

This is the second year for the Summer Lunch program, which started with a phone call and exists because a community pulled together.

“Last year (2018), I got a call from a local apartment complex manager with concerns for children in her complex not having adequate access to food,” Purl said. “Many of these kids she feels are falling through the cracks, because of a variety of issues, and she was especially concerned when the cafeteria of the school district shuts down for the summer.”

The apartment manager, Amanda Frienden had reached out to other food organizations but they did not have the logistics to address the problem in Wright City, Purl said.

She reached out to the Purl, who called upon his network.

“After reaching out to leaders and businesses in our community, our pantry felt like we could bring our local resources together to address this problem,” he said.

“Our volunteers came from a variety of backgrounds from bank presidents to first responders to local teachers on summer break, and retired folks as well,” Purl said.

When they arrived with meals last summer, they received a warm welcome.

“They were often surprised, thankful, and gracious. Surprised that we were there in the neighborhood and that someone was tuned into their need. Thankful that others were considering their need and had made special efforts to help them. Gracious in accepting the lunches with humbleness and sincerity,” Purl recalled.

For more information about the Summer Lunch Program or the Wright City Community Food Pantry, email Pastor Joe at joeandkimpurl@gmail.com or call 636-295-0540. Donations, by check, can be mailed payable to Wright City Community Food Pantry: WC Community Food Pantry, 521 W. Service Road N., Wright City, MO 63390.

Anyone who wants to help serve meals may select a day and sign up at signup.com/go/PKNBjZu

The food pantry is a nonprofit organization.

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