School Serves Summer Meal


In the Unites States there are an approximately 13 million hungry kids and teens. Federally the poverty line for a family of four is $24,300. Sixteen percent of the population in Albert Lea lives in poverty. According U.S. Census Bureau, the average income is $24,621. Schools provide students with two meals a day. When school ends for the summer these meals become unavailable.
Albert Lea Area Schools will be providing breakfast and lunch for five weeks during summer vacation. This meal program is a state sponsored program and correlates with summer school. Anyone age 18 or younger will be served with no other requirements. Meals will be served at Halverson Elementary School and Southwest Middle School. The tentative time for breakfast to be served is from 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 p.m. and lunch from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Other meal programs in Albert Lea function year round.
There are four food shelves and three meal programs here in Albert Lea helping local families. Local churches and programs such as Ruby’s Pantry, Meals on Wheels and the Salvation Army help provide food to low income families.
The Meals on Wheels program delivers food for to individuals 60 or older who can’t make or purchase their own food. The deliveries are Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. Meal deliveries are also available on weekends and on holidays. All meals contain about a third of the recommended dietary needs and they are willing to accommodate to specific needs. There is no cost for these meals but the Meals on wheels program does ask for a donations; however, no one is turned down if they are unable to donate.
Ruby’s Pantry is hosted by the Albert Lea Assemblies of God Church. They are open the first Saturday of the month from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. There is a $1 card fee plus donation of $20 is asked per share of food. Families can pick up food every month. The amount of food depends on the number of people in their household. Food shelves at First Presbyterian and Trinity Lutheran Church work with a similar system.
The Salvation Army is another contributor helping those in need of food by serving lunch weekdays to people of all ages. Program coordinator Kathy Belsan, says last year Salvation Army provided of 210,293 pounds of food to locals in need.
“Some of them have to make a choice to pay for food or the water bill,” Belsan said. “That way it lowers their grocery bill so they can pay for something else they need.”
They also provide a meal program Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. About 50 to 100 people are served per day and that rate increases as kids and teens get out of school.
“We are more then happy to serve anyone who comes to us,” Belsan said.