As the school bells quieted down back in June and the sun started to warm our communities with all that summer offers, we at Norwescap knew that for many children, the end of the school year brought the promise of freedom…but also the worry that they may not have enough to eat during the break. Thousands of kids in our neighborhoods rely on free breakfast and lunch programs provided in their schools, so summer vacation can be a time of stress and financial strain for many families. That’s why, for the past 18 years, Norwescap has embarked on a mission to make sure no child in need goes without a nutritious meal during the summer months. Our Summer Feeding Program has become an embodiment of hope and nourishment for thousands of children, creating a lifeline of community support each summer.
The Norwescap History of Summer Feeding Support
Since 2005, Norwescap has joined hands with the Phillipsburg School District and Maschio’s Food Service Company to serve over 3,000 free lunches to children in Phillipsburg each summer. These meals are more than just sustenance; they are a testament to the power of collaboration and compassion. Supported by our partners and the community, these lunches include a delicious variety of healthy options, from crispy chicken wraps to yogurt, bagels with cream cheese, and an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. And who could forget the beloved pizza day every Thursday, generously provided by Rocco’s Pizzeria!! It is always a day of celebration, reminding us that even in the face of challenges, simple things can bring great joy.
More Than Meals: A Safe Haven
But Norwescap’s Summer Feeding Program goes beyond the plate. At three open sites in Phillipsburg, including the Phillipsburg Housing Authority Community Room, Firth Youth Center, and Norwescap Traditions Family Success Center, children not only enjoy well-rounded meals but also engaging activities such as games, crafts, and story time. It is our holistic approach that a nourished body and soul creates an unforgettable summer experience for these children.
A Sonata of Partnerships
Our Summer Feeding Program is a testament to the incredible impact that partnerships can achieve. We extend our deepest gratitude to our collaborators at Phillipsburg Housing Authority, Firth Youth Center, and Norwescap Traditions Family Success Center for opening their doors and providing this safe haven for our young ones. The unwavering support of Maschio’s Food Services, Inc. and the Phillipsburg School District is instrumental in making this program a resounding success year after year. The Norwescap Food Bank team, at the helm of this initiative since 2005, continues to touch lives and support the health and well-being of thousands of children through this free lunch program.
Together, we weren’t just nourishing bodies; we were spreading joy and building a stronger, more resilient community.
A Reminder for Hunger Action Month
As the summer program drew to a close, we reflected on the partnerships that allowed us to provide free meals to families throughout the season. September is Hunger Action Month, a time to raise awareness and advocate for an end to hunger. While we razor-sharpen our focus on these efforts through September, it’s essential to remember that families are facing food insecurity challenges every day of the year. We must continue to stand in solidarity with everyone who is experiencing food insecurity, acknowledging their struggles, and offering our unwavering support.
Together, we made a difference, one family at a time, this past summer season… and here at Norwescap, we were committed to serving our neighbors and always striving to help EVERYONE in our community succeed and thrive EVERY DAY.
by Dawn Hartfelder – updated 9/14/2023
- To learn more about Norwescap’s Head Start, Early Head Start and other Childcare programs, please visit this page: Childcare and Early Childhood Education
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