Summer meal program kicks off in Lake County at Willow Praise Church

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Posted at 9:15 AM, Jun 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-07 09:15:04-04

WILLOWICK, Ohio — Summer feeding programs kick off across Lake County on Monday where anyone under 18 can grab a free meal.

One of the biggest distribution sites will be at the Willow Praise Church in Willowick.

Starting today, the Willow Praise Church and the Greater Cleveland Food Bank will be offering free, grab-and-go lunches every weekday through Aug. 30.

Anyone 18 and under can get a meal. There is no identification needed.

According to the Cleveland Food Bank, around 81,000 children in Northeast Ohio are food insecure.

“These meals are so important, especially for kids who rely on the National School Breakfast and lunch program,” said Jessica Morgan, chief programs officer for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.

One hundred and fifty meals will be handed out daily in a drive-thru distribution from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Willow Praise Church on Vine Street in Willowick.

This year, every Friday the summer feeding program will also include a weekend backpack.

“So they'll have a lunch on Saturday and Sunday. And I think that's a wonderful thing that the food bank is doing,” said Michael Zuren, Lake County Treasurer.

The program is also planning special, fun celebrations including the Fourth of July, Christmas in July and a Salvation Army School backpack distribution.

“We're probably going to hand out about eight hundred backpacks right before school starts,” Zuren said.

Monday’s kick-off distribution will feature some fun characters for children to meet.

“We have seven different Disney characters that are going to be there. So I believe we have Winnie the Pooh and a minion and Olaf,” said Zuren.

The free lunch distribution starts at 11:30 a.m. Monday. Church organizers said cars start lining up around 11 p.m.

Organizers say they are in need of volunteers and donations, especially new underwear, socks and shoes for kids.

Click here for a meal distribution site near you.

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