Food insecurity is an issue in Jefferson County, especially during the summer months when school is not in session. Those children who would receive healthy breakfasts and lunches at school are often not getting those meals. Working with partners in Jefferson County, Community Wellness Coordinator Eddie Cozart helped design and organize a “Summer Lunch Program”.
The program allowed anyone under 18 to receive a free lunch Monday through Friday during June and July, thanks to many partners. The program began the first day of summer vacation and ran until the day before the new school year started. Thanks to many partners the program operated in 16 different sites across the county – from trailer parks and low-income apartment complexes, to all summer schools and school-related camps. The food distributed followed nutritional guidelines, providing fresh fruits and vegetables to children who may not have been able to obtain them. Several partners contributed to the program – including the Indiana Department of Corrections (for prepared lunches), Madison Consolidated Schools and Southwestern Schools (for the use of their mini buses for transportation and walk-in refrigerators for food storage), River Valley Resources (for facilitation and organization), Jefferson County Purdue Extension and many, many volunteers. Over 400 different volunteers from various employers, churches, and community groups served over 7,500 healthy lunches free of charge directly to the youth in Jefferson County.