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MUST Expands Summer Lunch Program

In Cobb County alone, there are tens of thousands of children eligible for federal free and reduced meals during the school year. But what happens when classes aren't in session?

Sixteen years ago, a MUST Ministries volunteer began making lunches for local children who needed something to eat during the summer with the help of a few other volunteers. 

Last year, the Summer Lunch Program delivered 100,000 lunches to hungry children in Cobb and Cherokee counties. This year, MUST expanded the popular program to the Douglas, Paulding, North Fulton and Gwinnett communities, while continuing to serve children in Cobb and Cherokee.

The plan now is to serve 180,000 nutritionally balanced summer lunches.

Elizabeth Weaver, arts and cultural affairs division director for Cobb County Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, learned about the MUST Minstries Summer Lunch Program while attending Due West Methodist Church, which donated lunch bags to the cause.

Weaver had the idea of asking kids attending summer camp at The Art Place Mountain ViewMable House and The Art Station Big Shanty to decorate the bags.

"The campers arrive and work on the lunch bag decorating project. The kids love it. They draw happy pictures and write cute sayings on the bags. Our staff got involved and created collage work on bags," said Nelah S. Gabler, facility director of The Art Place Mountain View.

Get Involved

MUST could not serve these children without the help of hundreds of volunteers. Here are ways to get involved in the program:

Make Lunches

Making summer lunches is an ideal team-building activity for families, organizations, businesses, churches, clubs and other groups, and it has an immediate impact on the community. Daily menus, guidelines tips and specific lunch-making instructions are provided. 

Donate Your Time

The Summer Lunch Program is run almost entirely by volunteers, who are needed five days a week for the summer break. You are welcome to volunteer a few days during the summer or even each week.

Summer Lunch Drivers

Summer lunch drivers are essential to getting lunches into the hands of the children who need them.

Summer Lunch Checker/Packer

The checker/packer acts as "quality control" and ensures that each lunch is a complete, fresh meal.

To find out how you can get involved in the program, call MUST Ministries at 770-427-9862 or visit the MUST Ministries Summer Lunch Page.

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