This past summer, over 80 students from low-income families participated in a Lunch and Learn program at the John Nevins Andrews School in Takoma Park. Lunch and Learn offered students classes in math, reading, computers, and swimming.
Designed to keep providing meals to students even after the school year ended, the program allowed students to enjoy free meals while they participated in fun, engaging classes. The meals were provided by the Montgomery County Public Schools Summer Meals Program, which also serves approximately 9500 children at 120 locations each day of summer break.
Lunch and Learn was founded by Program Coordinator Jackie Frazier three years ago in her Takoma Park apartment. Since then, the program has grown and expanded by the Adventist Community Services of Greater Washington (ACSGW). ACSGW manages swimming lessons at Piney Branch Elementary School and computer training. This year’s program was sponsored by Making a New United People (MANUP), ACSGW, and the City of Takoma Park. The sponsors had only planned for 90 students but 110 came to register. 89 students were ultimately registered.
Student and parent responses were very positive to this year’s program. Lunch and Learn exposed students to new subject areas and taught them skills that are seldom addressed in the classroom.
“The parents and kids were particularly appreciative of the swimming lessons provided. Many of these kids were from low income families and had never had the opportunity to learn how to swim. The older kids were taught how to take a computer apart and rebuild it and learned how the parts work together,” explained Alicia Tucker, marketing personnel at ACSGW.
“It [was] a relief for parents of the kids not to have to worry about summer daycare, not to mention hungry kids. The group include[d] two kids from homeless shelters,” said Ken Flemmer, ACSGW director.
There are currently plans to host a Lunch and Learn in Prince Georges County. ACSGW is also working on hosting a program similar to Lunch and Learn after school either this year or in 2016. This growth may help to serve students from low-income families all across the county and keep less stress on their minds and more food on their plate.
If you would like to know more about Lunch and Learn, check out Adventist Community Services on Facebook or contact Jarret Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ken Flemmer, Pat Tyser, or John Reed at email@example.com.
Article by MoCo Student Community editor Deepti Agnihotri of Poolesville High School