While many kids are out and enjoying their summers, not all have adequate access to enough food to eat. There are over 485,000 kids who eat free and reduced-price meals during the school year, but where do they get food when school is out? Food Lifeline aims to feed more children in the summer through our Kids Cafe program. Recently, Congressman Rick Larsen and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene visited two of these Kids Cafe sites.
On August 5th, Congressman Rick Larsen of the 2nd District made a visit to the Kids Cafe at the Lynnwood Community Health Clinic and had an opportunity to talk about the program with Mallory Lisk, the Community Relations Manager and site supervisor. As children came in for their visits, Mallory and the receptionists asked them if they would like a free meal. Congressman Larsen helped hand out meals to the kids during lunch and the children get to choose from a two meals: barbeque chicken or cereal. This is the first year for this site, and a new partnership for Food Lifeline to work with a community clinic. Each site gets to place a weekly order for as many meals as they need and gets to choose which types of meals they want.
On August 11th, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene of the 1st District made a visit to the Kids Cafe at the Juanita View Apartments in Kirkland. The Apartments serve meals Monday through Friday and the program is run by Alla, a resident at the apartments. Congresswoman DelBene passed out meals to the children and spent some time reading with one of the kids. State Representative Larry Springer also stopped by briefly, and they were able to talk about challenges and opportunities at both the state and federal levels for feeding kids. The visit wrapped up with a trip down the street to HopeLink’s Kirkland/Northshore location for a discussion about the current state of anti-hunger programs with representatives from Food Lifeline, Hopelink, and King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci’s office.
Both Congressman Larsen and Congresswoman DelBene have been strong champions for improving access to summer meal sites as have many others from the Washington Delegation. Senator’s Murray and Cantwell along with Representatives DelBene, Heck, Kilmer, Larsen, McDermott, and Smith have signed on as co-sponsors for both the Stop Child Summer Hunger Act and the Summer Meals Act which would expand access through Summer SNAP and by making summer meal sites more accessible.