Summer lunch program for children takes lunch ‘To The Streets’ for third year in Jacksonville area

By Benjamin Cox on May 6, 2019 at 1:03pm

A summer lunch program for children in Jacksonville will enter its third year this June.

The ‘Take it to the Streets’ campaign has been coordinated by Sandy and Brad Heaton over the last three years. This year’s campaign begins on June 9th and runs until August 14th.

All the lunches are individually prepared at Grace United Methodist Church.

There were an estimated 16,500 lunches delivered to children throughout Jacksonville last year by over 300 volunteers spanning all aspects of the local summer lunch program.

Sandy Heaton spoke at the beginning of the Jacksonville City Council workshop setting at the second meeting in April and spoke last week to the South Jacksonville Board of Trustees. Heaton says the folks at Grace United Methodist Church are gathering volunteers.

“So the lunches are prepared at Grace United Methodist Church, and the phone number there is 217-245-9521. You can call Monday through Thursday, 9am to 1:30 pm. We prepare the lunches Sundays at 4 and Monday through Thursday at 5:30. We prepare the lunches the night before, and then we go to the different sites the next day. We start June 9th for preparing the lunches and the summer lunch program will run from June 10th until August 14th, the day before school starts.”

Heaton details the different coordinated locations for the 2019 summer lunch program.

“Our seven sites are Walnut Housing, which is on East Walnut across from the park. We’re at Vas Housing, which is down from Lincoln Elementary School, Greenbriar Apartments, Northwood Trailer Court up by the mailboxes, Marnico Village, Washington School, and South Jacksonville Elementary School. We also deliver to special-needs kids attending summer school and kids attending the Salvation Army day camp.”

Heaton says all volunteers will be welcome at Grace United Methodist Church.

“You can show up to volunteer any Sunday at 4pm or Monday through Thursday at 5:30. For more information, you can also email”

Heaton describes an upcoming “Take It To The Streets” fundraiser at Community Park.

“We’ll be doing the fundraiser on Saturday, June 1st from 11 to 1-ish. We’ll be having pork chops and chips and soda by the Ferris wheel at Community Park, which the new Rotarians will be running for us. There is a 5 dollar donation, and all proceeds go to the summer lunch program.”

Although children are more than welcome to volunteer as lunches are being prepared in the afternoon and evening at the church, the Take It To The Streets Program will only send adults to the individually designated locations as lunches are delivered during each weekday.