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Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs
(LOGA)

122 C Street N.W., Suite 125
Washington, D.C. 20001
Tel: 202-783-7507       
loga@elca.org


Summer Food Service Program

First Light Summer Camp – First Lutheran Church                                                      Lynn, MA

Neal Halvorson-Taylor

“The Summer Food Service Program is a win-win for any organization.”

After seeing a Presbyterian church hosting the summer lunch program, Neal saw an opportunity to tie the Summer Food Service Program with his church summer camp.  It created a community gathering place for kids of all ages and exposed them to the church building and summer program.  Without the reimbursements from the SFSP, the church would have had to scale back their summer program to put more money into the food or ask participants to bring a lunch everyday.  While there are other summer lunch programs in the city, they are more difficult to access for the neighborhood folks.

The camp is looking for extra money to do more activities that attract more than the 45 children they currently serve.  They are also looking to incorporate high school kids into the program to serve as peer leaders and participate in the SFSP as well. 

 

Hope Lutheran Church                                                                                          Enumclaw, WA

Richard Elfers

“[The Summer Food Service Program] is tangible and the results and people affected are real-not thousands of miles away.  We also can physically help, not just give money.”

As a first year participant, Rich Elfers is looking forward to being a site for the Summer Food Service Program.  Although the paperwork and regulations were deterrents from starting the program last year, this year he is more able to handle the program and understand why it is necessary to have rules.  Rich saw a need at the public high school for the feeding program and he also wanted the church to be more involved in the community.  His goal is to begin building connections with fellow Christians in doing God’s work of helping the poor in the plateau.  He wants to serve the poor, but most importantly, to do so he wants to build connections and a sense of community in Enumclaw. 

Without this program, the only other option for food is the Plateau Outreach Ministries (POM) food bank, which is the only social service agency on the plateau.  Hope Lutheran Church lacks the resources and money required to do a program like this and hopes that churches in other communities and states will start similar programs.  

Their sponsor – Enumclaw Youth and Family Services – had this to include:

Collaboration between social service agencies such as ours, churches, schools and other community organizations is very vital to the success of serving children and families in need.  Unfortunately, in an effort to make people more accountable, the State now requires the completion of a mountain of paperwork before any organization can even begin the SFSP.  The hoops that one must jump through to get the program off the ground are extremely overwhelming. 

With the recent human service funding cuts and the promised cuts over the next couple of years, non‑profits such as ours, are left to struggle with the “costs versus needs” issue. This project is a good example of that in that even with some reimbursement from the State, we will run an approximate $1,500 shortfall of actual costs. This is really an important factor in whether we are able to continue doing this program and others like it in the future.

 

Summer Urban Academy – Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church                  Minneapolis, MN

Pastor Rebecca Von Fischer

“So the reality is, if we lost the lunch program as well, we would have to make further cutbacks.  The kids are the losers in this.”

In the neighborhood where Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church is located, there is a very diverse and changing population.  There are many of children in the community, with most coming from low-income or new immigrant families.  The majority of the children fit the President’s criteria of a risk of “being left behind.”  Through a partnership with Minneapolis Public Schools, Pastor Rebecca Von Fischer was able to expand their summer programming for youth from a half day program to a full day program offering educational activities and meals. 

About 45 children from the community participate in the Summer Urban Academy, but as the program has expanded to include more children, they have had to stretch their dollars.  They are losing the breakfast program as part of the Summer Food Service Program because Minneapolis Public Schools are faced with cutbacks in their budget and therefore will no longer make it available to community based summer programs.  That is only one of a number of cutbacks that has resulted in having to cut their numbers in order to stretch their budgets.  So the reality is, if we lost the lunch program as well, we would have to make further cutbacks.  The kids are the losers in this.


For further information contact Hun Quach, (202) 626-7936, or Kay Bengston, (202) 626-7942, Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

 

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