Needles, CA, January 07, 2015 --(PR.com
)-- For families who count on school breakfast and lunch, the summer months can be stressful and family food budgets have to be stretched even further; struggling and they’re unable to offer their children a full nutritious meals. According to the National Institute of Health children who regularly eat a balanced breakfast and lunch have better standardized test scores, better behavior, and were better able to focus on developmental activities than children who skipped meals.
The Children’s Box Lunch Program will begin serving free lunches to children in the Needles community starting summer, 2015. The Children’s Box Lunch Program (CBLP) a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization (www.freeboxlunches.org) will ensure that children in low-income areas continue to receive nutritious meals when schools are out of session and they do not have access to school lunch or breakfast.
Dr. Mary McNeil, Needles Unified School District Superintendent, stated “there are approximately 1,000 children in Needles and about 70% to them qualify for free and reduced-price lunches during the school year, but do not have access to nutritious meals when schools are not in session.”
In cooperation with the Needles Unified School District, the Children’s Box Lunch Program will fill this gap. “There is no qualifying or any paperwork to fill out. We will serve anyone who is 18 years and younger,” said Dr. Dina Nielsen, Executive Director. “Our mission is to serve rural and economically challenged communities, which have high rates of poverty and a lack of basic resources such as grocery stores.” Dr. Nielsen, further stated, “as a result, many residents in these areas have limited access to fresh and healthy foods and suffer the physical and emotional consequences of poor nutrition.”
The Children’s Box Lunch Program estimates that they will be feeding 4,800 to 5,020 meals during the summer, an average of 120 to 125 meals per day for 40 days (Monday thru Friday). According to Mr. Shailes McWan, founder President/CEO of the Children's Box Lunch Program, a donation of $100 will feed one child for the entire summer at the Needles Recreation Center. And more importantly, all donated dollars will be kept within the community to serve the Children of Needles. We owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Rick Daniels, City Manager and Mrs. Jennifer Valenzuela, Recreation Center Director making this site available to us.” Eventually they will add additional fixed sites including refurbishing school buses into mobile lunch sites so children who cannot eat at a fixed site will have access to healthy meals in our mobile sites.
The organization's motto is “no child goes hungry when schools are out of session." Dr. McNiel said “this is a wonderful program which benefits the children and our community as a whole.” Those interested in contributing to the health and well being of Children of Needles through donations and/or volunteering are encouraged to contact Dr. Nielsen or Mr. McWan, through their website at www.freeboxlunches.org or calling them at (760) 298-cblp (2257).