No child should ever go hungry, and the folks at Grace United Methodist Church are doing there part to make sure children in our area are being fed during the summer, when they wouldn’t have access to other provided meals, such as a school breakfast and lunch program.
The “Take it to the Streets” Summer Lunch Program will be a free service to children across the Jacksonville community every weekday at 11:30am from June 4th to August 16th. Volunteer staff will travel to five locations in the Jacksonville area this summer.
Sandy and Brad Heaton are members of the Grace United Methodist Church that have been presenting the mission of the Take it to the Streets Initiative publicly. Sandy describes what Grace United had been doing, and how one good idea sparked this great effort of giving.
“Providing meals in the summertime… and the kids were coming to the church, but we weren’t having a lot of them. And last year, Vanessa of New Directions came to me and said, ‘Let’s do a program and let’s take it to their neighborhoods. Let’s take it to the kids, and let’s call it Take It To the Streets.’ and that’s how it started. And we just were going… She was the one who decided what good locations would be, and we got volunteers coming and it was a success.”
Brad and Sandy offer their thoughts on why mobilizing the the initiative was the most logical option, with many children not within walking distance to the Grace United Church.
Brad: “I think we went there because of the need, and it was where the kids were at. The whole thing was that we didn’t want the kids to have to come to the church…
Sandy: “From across the streets…”
Brad: “from across the town. And that was a thing before where someone always had to bring them. Ya know, they had to have a parent bring them. With this, we’re taking it where they’re at, so they don’t have to travel very far to get a meal.”
Sandy: “And a lot of the kids are home alone and they don’t have access to a mobile or anything, and so this way, we’re there. We’re close to Lincoln School, and so we wanted to be in the north part of town.”
Brad gives a number of options for those that would like to be of assistance in continuing this noble effort of making sure the children of Jacksonville won’t go hungry this summer.
“You can give monetary, and it can be sent to Grace [United Methodist Church]. Just address it to ‘Take It To the Streets’. You could drop it off, or you could come volunteer, or you could donate food. And if you want to donate food, then you really need to contact us to see what we need. And our menu is going to change based on what we can get. Last year, we would got to Dot Foods and different places where we could get big amounts of things, and when you go to [places like] Dot Foods it just depends on what is available. You know, we’re dealing with 200 lunches a day, that’s a thousand or more a week, so we have to have it to where it’s affordable for us.”
To contact Grace United Methodist Church to donate money to the cause or to offer your time as a volunteer, call the church at 217.245.9521. If you would like to give food, email the church at their “Take it to the Streets”-specific email address, which is email@example.com with a list of different food items you think you might be able to donate.