North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

CHC provides summer lunches for kids

 

August 2, 2017 | View PDF

Christopher Andersson

Maria Cortes, community health worker at the Community Health Center Arlington Clinic, grabs one of the meals for the free summer lunch program, provided by Community Health Center of Snohomish County and Food Lifeline, on July 28.

Community Health Center of Snohomish County locations, including in Arlington, is providing free lunches to kids this summer on each weekday.

"Any child age 18 or younger is eligible to come get meals at one of our locations," said Lisa Miller, chief operating officer for Community Health Center of Snohomish County.

Those locations include the Community Health Center Arlington Clinic at 326 S. Stillaguamish Ave., Arlington, and their clinics in Edmonds and Lynnwood.

The free meals are available through Sept. 5.

At the Arlington location meals are available Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The free lunches are meant to fill the gap that is left when students don't have their regular school lunches to rely on.

"Most of these children get a balanced meal Monday through Friday at school, and once you're in summer that is gone," said Miller.

"We have to provide these kind of meals to bridge the gap," she said.

For families that are struggling, it can be difficult to pick up all the meals that the school was previously supplying.

Miller said that one study showed that low-income families spend about $300 more each summer on food.

"So these meals help those families stretch their budget," said Miller.

It's an important need for many areas across the county, she said.

"Especially in Arlington, which is an area that has a higher percentage of students who are on free or reduced lunch," said Miller.

More than 50 percent of students in the Arlington area qualify for free or reduced lunch, she said.

Every kid should have lunches available for them even if they are out for the summer though, she said.

"We appreciate that hunger has no boundaries," said Miller.

The Community Health Center's lunches are balanced with healthy items as well.

"These are nutritious meals that we provide to children ages 18 or under," said Miller.

Keeping kids eating good food is important, she said.

"As a community health organization we appreciate the nutritious aspect of these meals as well," she said.

It is not necessary to be a patient at a Community Health Center clinic to participate in the program. "Regardless if they are a patient here or not, they can come in and get a meal," said Miller.

This is the second year for the program and Miller said that there has been a much better turnout this year.

"Last year we didn't have much time to get the word out, but this year we've been working with the schools and other agencies," she said.

They have already served 226 meals throughout their locations, she said.

Community Health Center works with Food Lifeline, a supplier of food banks in western Washington to provide the program.

More information about the Community Health Center of Snohomish County is available at chcsno.org.

 

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