Children who live in the Panther Valley School District are invited to eat free lunches each weekday this summer in Summit Hill, Lansford and Coaldale.
The lunches are provided through donations, and through the state Department of Education's Summer Food Service Program and the school district. No registration or proof of income is required.
The program, which was launched last summer in Summit Hill, opened Tuesday at Trinity & St. Phillips Episcopal Church, 5 E. Ridge St. in Lansford; Christ Redeemer Church, 151 Third St., Coaldale; and the Heritage Center, 1 W. Hazard St., Summit Hill.
"This is our second year of operation. The first year we served nearly 2,000 meals during the summer. We think we will triple that number this year," said organizer Debra Ranck.
Lunches will be served to children from pre-kindergarten through senior high school from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays until Aug. 16.
On Tuesday, Jeanne Shuck of Lansford brought her niece and nephew, Hailey Harvilla, 11, and Blaise Harvilla, 13, also of Lansford, for lunch at Trinity & St. Phillips church.
The menu was tacos on soft flour tortillas, bananas, and reduced-fat milk.
Each child is asked about any allergies at the door.
As Hailey and Blaise dug in, more children began to filter in. The dining room in the church basement was quickly filled with hungry children.
Volunteers Marie Ondrus, Irma Leibensperger, Pat Ladick, Laurie Lantosh and Joyann Dehart were kept busy signing children in, setting out plastic utensils and napkins, and dishing out food.
Later, Leibensperger and Jeanne McArdle donated $100 from the Lansford Pinochle Club. The club regularly donates to community organizations.
Ranck said that although the state contributes to the program, "in order to fully meet expenses we do encourage and gratefully accept donations from businesses and individuals."
To donate, make checks payable to SHHC-SFSP and send to: SHHC 1 West Hazard Street Summit Hill, PA 18250.
The program also needs volunteers. To volunteer, or for more information, call (570) 645-9133 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or message the program on Facebook.