Kids Meal Network
When summer comes each year, thousands of kids across the Greater Pittsburgh Area are left without consistent access to healthy meals. Our 8-10 week program feeds food insecure children after school has let out and there is no longer the offering of a lunch meal to the kids every day. The Kids Meal Network offers a hot meal and a snack to the young community three to five times a week, typically on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. However, the serving schedule may vary depending on the site, responding to the specific needs of its location.
This past summer The Kids Meal Network could be found at 10 locations across Allegheny County including Clairton, Northview Heights, the West End, the Hill, Wilkensburg, Coraopolis and Mckeesport .There is a Food Safety Certified Site Manager at each location, and all volunteers have received the appropriate child safety clearances. During the summer of 2016 we were able to serve 21,034 meals.
Each summer, 100+ volunteers came together to serve hot meals at locations across Western Pennsylvania. Locations are chosen based upon the number of children who are eligible for free and reduced meals during the school year. This program operates as part of the Summer Food Service Program. Meals are warm and nutritious and each site offers enrichment activities such as crafts and games. The majority of our locations are local churches.
All of the Kids Meal Network sites are considered an “Open” location. Any child that walks into one of our locations is offered an appealing, hot meal – no enrollment necessary! Along with lunch, some sites offer programming to the children. Kids Meal Network offers a safe place for the kids to gather with friends and have a healthy lunch.
Looking for ways to host a summer food site for kids in your neighborhood?
Kids Meal Network, a program of United Methodist Church Union, offers local churches an opportunity to serve the kids in their neighborhood a wholesome meal several times each week for 9 weeks each summer….. AT NO COST TO THE HOST CHURCH!
What does my church need to provide?
- Site Manager - either a church member or a neighbor willing to take the lead
- Vetted Volunteers (2-5) - church members or neighbors who have appropriate clearances
- Food & Supply Storage - refrigeration, safe storage for nonperishables, freezer would be great, separate storage for paper goods, etc.
- Ability to heat/hold food at temp-oven, chafing dish set up (provided)
- Accessible place to serve food with shelter
- Hand-washing sink, minimum of one other sink for sanitizing serving items
What does Church Union provide?
- Food and all other items related to food service such as paper goods, chafing dishes, sanitization supplies, etc.
- Stipend for Site Manager (1099) - Site Manager can elect to redirect the stipend to the church
- Assistance with securing clearances
- Oversite (to keep in accordance with government guidelines)
- Help with additional programming - providing materials, books, etc.
“It’s so easy to get involved as a volunteer and make a difference hands-on. We’re right here.”
- Cheri Pogue, Program Director for UMCU