Throughout the summer our blog will showcase some of the many,Go, Lunch! summer meal sites. There are over 200 sites serving free meals and snacks throughout Franklin County this summer so unfortunately, we won’t be able to write about ALL of them. Please be sure you are following Go, Lunch!on social media where we will be sharing more information and details about all the fun places Go, Lunch!will be this summer.
Summer is the time of year that is anticipated by most children. The thought of sitting at the pool, licking a sugary popsicle, making your hands sticky excites those of all ages. Summer is a time for students to relax and take a break from the long days spent in fluorescent-lit classrooms; however, studies have shown that students lose many of their skills learned in the previous year at school during summer break. This phenomenon of a student’s decline in reading ability and other academic skills is known as “summer slide.”
According to Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), a research-based non-profit organization that measures growth and proficiency in schools, students test scores decline from spring to fall because of the lack of brain activity over the summer break. This lack of brain activity in students during the summer is a problem that is faced by the long break.
Summer also poses issues to those who rely on their school’s meal program to provide breakfast and lunch during the school year. Without school in session, many students lack access to nourishing meals. Lack of food during the summertime can lead to a dramatic decline in information retained from the previous school year because of foods essential role in retaining and learning new information. Columbus Recreation and Parks Department and partners throughout Franklin County are committed to offering a solution to this problem throughGo, Lunch!
Go, Lunch! provides meals for those under 18 who don’t have access to food during the summer. Go, Lunch! has more than 200 meal sites in Franklin County and expects to serve ½ million meals this summer. The program offers a safe place for many students to have fun and enjoy a free meal. Columbus Metropolitan Libraries account for 15 of the Go, Lunch! locations.
Columbus Metropolitan Libraries are combating the issue of summer slide and summertime hunger by providing brain-stimulating as well as meals and snacks through Go, Lunch!. A day at one of the participating Go, Lunch! library locations may entail a storytime followed up by a lunch that consists of a sandwich and a healthy side such as cheese or fruit. The Columbus Metropolitan Libraries offer an array of activities June-August like The Summer Reading Program, which encourages students to read books that pertain to their interests by offering fun prizes is always popular. The library also offers other stimulating activities such as crafts and visits to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. According to Ben Zenitsky, marketing and communication specialist for Columbus Metropolitan Libraries, “Columbus Metropolitan Library is committed to keeping young minds reading over the summer.” A visit to any Columbus Metropolitan Library demonstrates its commitment to combating summer slide and partnering with Go, Lunch! ensures academic and nutrition needs are met simultaneously.
Columbus Metropolitan Library locations providing free lunch and/or snack this summer include: Driving Park, Franklinton, Hilltop, Karl Road, Linden, Livingston, Main Library, Martin Luther King, Northern Lights, Parsons, Reynoldsburg, Shepard, Southeast, South High, and Whitehall.
Go, Lunch! is the largest free summer meal program in Ohio. Find a meal site in your neighborhood by calling 1-866-3-HUNGRY OR TEXT “FOOD” to 877877.
Written by JD Mooney, Irvin Public Relations