’ dire need for volunteers could impact hungry kids.
School ended for Cobb County last week and for most students their summer promises free time and family vacations, but for some Cobb kids enrolled in the federal free and reduced lunch program it means gnawing hunger and uncertainty.
MUST Ministries’ summer lunch program offers the same kids a bag lunch every weekday during the summer, but so far there aren’t enough volunteers to pack lunches and deliver them to the kids, said Jennifer Richmond, the Cobb County summer lunch coordinator.
“We need drivers more than checker/packers,” she said. “We still need people to make the lunches because they’re all donated. We need drivers out of Smyrna, the Milford Baptist area and Acworth so all the areas need drivers.”
Volunteers are also needed to pack and deliver lunches in Cherokee, Paulding, Douglas, Gwinnett and north Fulton counties.
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Richmond said that for some of the kids, the summer lunch program provides their only meal for the day.
“The parents need it and the kids need it,” she said. “You see the parents really appreciate it too. They’re out there also.”
Packing lunches is an important that job that lends itself to teams of volunteers like churches, Girl Scout troops and civic clubs, though individuals are invited to volunteer. Drivers are needed to pick up lunches from one of Cobb’s distribution centers in Smyrna, Acworth or Marietta.
“The driving is actually the best part about this job because the kids are so happy to see you and it’s very rewarding,” she said. “There always smiling and so thankful that you’re there. I think as a driver that’s my favorite part. The kids love it and we’ve been doing it so long in Cobb that when they hear that horn they all come running out or they’re waiting outside for us.”
Drivers are asked to commit to delivering lunches one day a week through Aug. 1, however they can volunteer more if they have the time. Those interested in volunteering can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Here are the summer lunch volunteer descriptions:
Summer Lunch Checker/Packer Guidelines:
- Hours: Monday-Friday, 9AM-11AM
- Three volunteers per 200 lunches.
- Check sandwiches to ensure they are fresh and are in a presentable condition (i.e. not smashed or soggy).
- Check fruit to ensure it is not over-ripe or moldy.
- Ensure there are at least three items in each bag: juice, snack and fruit (or one sweet and one salty snack if fruit is not available).
- Pack sandwiches (and/or snacks and fruit, if necessary) into lunch bags.
- Pack 25 complete lunches into crates or boxes, depending on the route.
- Make sandwiches, if necessary.
- Return extra sandwiches in bread bags with the date they were delivered on each bag. Make sure to rotate sandwiches so the oldest ones are used first and freeze.
- Wipe each table down with disinfect spray and prepare for the next day.
Summer Lunch Driver Guidelines:
- Mandatory Criteria
- (All criteria must be met before volunteering as a Driver)
- Drivers must be 25+ years of age with a passenger (no one can drive alone)
- Copy of valid Driver’s License
- Copy of Insurance Card
- Vehicle Registration
- Local and National Background Check thru MUST Ministries ($7.95) and must submit a MVR report of at least 3 years (this is a driving record)
- Duties of a Driver
- Hours: Monday - Friday, 10:45AM - 2:00PM
- For the safety of all involved there must be at least two people in the vehicle to deliver lunches
- Help load crates or boxes into your vehicle, if necessary
- Distribute lunches to children who have a registration form on file
- Rotate crates in your vehicle so that the full crates are near the doors
- Hand out books, toys or other items that may accompany the lunches
- Unload crates at the end of the route
- Return crates to host site
- Pull leftover sandwiches or fruit from the lunch bags and place in the refrigerator