Every Monday through Thursday this summer, Human Support Services clients pack up coolers and take a ride out to a few smaller outlying towns in our region.
In these towns, our clients are the frontline volunteers handing out sack lunches to children and adults who might otherwise struggle to find enough to eat on these hot summer days.
While HNS handles the lunch distribution at sites in Waterloo, our HSS clients are responsible for preparing, packing and distributing the lunches at sites in Valmeyer, Hecker and Prairie du Rocher.
For us, it’s a win-win effort.
Not only are we involved in an important community project that helps feed local families in need, but we are giving all our day and workshop program clients a new opportunity to learn.
“A lot of our volunteer experiences are limited to a few people, but we saw this lunch bunch as an opportunity for almost everybody to be involved if they wanted to,” said Anne King, HSS chief program officer. “So we’re really rotating and turn taking with a lot of folks in the day program. Everybody gets a turn to go except for those that can’t take the heat or have medical limitations.”
For many of our clients, it’s a chance to get out and interact with people – something they love to do. Even better, it’s an opportunity for them to work on social interaction skills and teamwork.
“It’s really a chance for clients to build in their skills as much as providing a service to the community too,” King said.
Volunteering with the Summer Lunch Bunch offers clients experience in a variety of areas, such as food preparation, community service, communication skills and social engagement.
HSS works with HNS regularly, and this is a great example of a successful community partnership that has provided benefits on multiple levels.
The Summer Lunch Bunch will provide free lunches to people of all ages Monday through Thursday through August 11.
Volunteers give out lunches at the following locations and times:
- Bella Vista apartments on Debra Lane in Waterloo at 11 a.m.
- Corner of Park and Moore streets in Waterloo at 11:30 a.m.
- Waterloo Optimist Skate Park at 12 p.m.
- Former First Bank site in Valmeyer at 11:30 a.m.
- City park in Prairie du Rocher at 11:30 a.m.
- City park in Hecker at 11:30 a.m.
The Summer Lunch Bunch is in need of volunteers and donations of food to continue the program throughout the summer. If you can help or have questions, call 618-939-8680.