Loss of $5,000 grant puts Hawkins ‘Lunch Box’ program in jeopardy

Jeff Bobo • May 22, 2013 at 10:41 PM

ROGERSVILLE — Of One Accord Ministry’s Lunch Box program expects to serve more lunches this summer than ever to Hawkins County children, but the loss of a $5,000 grant could put the program in jeopardy.

The Lunch Box program was established in 2006 to provide free lunches to school-age children and teens throughout Hawkins County. Initially, an old school bus was transformed into a mobile cafeteria, but now meals are also served at churches, schools and other public parks and buildings.

The purpose of the Lunch Box program is to help families offset the cost of feeding children during summer months when free and reduced school lunches aren’t available.

In its first year, the program served 999 meals in a limited area of Rogersville. But over the years, it has expanded to include neighborhoods in Carters Valley, Church Hill and Mount Carmel.

In 2012, the program served 7,675 meals to children countywide.

Of One Accord Director Sheldon Livesay said he only learned recently that a $5,000 grant from the Share Our Strength Foundation, which supported the Lunch Box program, was not being continued this summer.

“More and more there are grants to help you get a program started up, but then they expect you to be able to maintain after they start you up,” Livesay said. “This particular group we’d gotten a couple or three grants, and now they would rather fund somebody new.”

Livesay said the Lunch Box program will attempt to raise funds to complete the summer. The last day meals are scheduled to be served is Friday, Aug. 2.

“We’re going to start, and hope, but we don’t know at this point how long we can go,” Livesay said. “You can’t run without money, so if we get into the summer and there’s nothing left to draw from, it could hamper the program. We’re not there yet and we’re hoping we don’t have to look that direction.”

The Rogersville area will be served five days per week.

Rogersville City School doesn’t dismiss for the summer until May 31, so locations populated by city school students including Terrace Apartments, Fugate Hill and Rogersville City Park won’t start serving lunch until June 3. Other areas in the Rogersville area will start Tuesday, May 28.

Lunches will also be served in Church Hill and Mount Carmel area neighborhoods three days per week — Monday, Wednesday and Friday — beginning Wednesday, May 29.

The Church Hill Lunch Box Program is sponsored by a coalition of area churches, community partners, the city of Church Hill and Of One Accord Ministries.

“The Lunch Box program is not only for low-income families,” said program administrator Kayla Williams. “All children ages 18 or younger are encouraged to participate in this program. With gas and food prices so high, we are certain that every family could use help feeding their kids during the summer months.”

Lunches will be served at the following Church Hill/Mount Carmel locations on Monday, Wednesday and Friday:

•First Free Will Baptist Church: 11:30 a.m.–noon.

•Mount Carmel City Park 1-1:30 p.m.

•Goshen Valley Volunteer Fire Department: 12:30-1 p.m.

•Church Hill City Pool: 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Mobile cafeteria bus sites in Carter’s Valley:

•Frosty Acres Mobile Home Park: 11-11:20 a.m.

•Hidden Acres Mobile Home Village: 11:35-11:55 a.m.

•Valley Village Mobile Home Village:12:02-12:22 p.m.

Other mobile cafeteria bus sites:

•Sunny Hills Mobile Home Park: 12:45-1:05 p.m.

•Hickory Hills Apartments: 1:10-1:30 p.m.

•Silver Lakes Estates Mobile Home Park: 1:35-1:55 p.m.

•Stoney Brooke Apartments and Stroupe Court: 2-2:20 p.m.

The following neighborhoods will be served by the Rogersville Lunch Box Program five days a week (Monday – Friday):

•Boys and Girls Club in Rogersville: 11-11:15 a.m.

•Dylan Heights Mobile Home Park: 11 a.m.-11:20

•Shepherd’s Center: 11-11:30 a.m.

•Rolling Meadows Mobile Home Park in Stanley Valley: 11:25-11:45 a.m.

•Fugate Hill Apartments: 1-1:20 p.m.

•Terrace Apartments: 12:30-12:50 p.m.

•Arrowhead Drive: noon-12:20 p.m.

•Rogersville City Park across from the swimming pool: 1-1:20 p.m.

•Rogersville Middle School: 11:30 a.m.-noon.

For more information about the Lunch Box Program or making a donation, contact Rita Jones in Rogersville at (423) 921-8036; or Kayla Williams in Church Hill at (423) 863-2911.

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