In 2015, Kreitner Elementary Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Kim Poe realized some of her summer school students were not having regular meals because the food they relied on during the school year was not available.
Poe recruited several other Kreitner teachers and REACH Summer Lunch Ministry was born.
That first summer, REACH served about 600 meals. In 2017, the program expanded to include some neighborhoods (two days a week) that attend Caseyville Elementary. Last summer, 4,950 lunches were prepared and distributed.
REACH partners with Twigs in Granite City, Kids for Christ-Feed My Lambs and State Park Food Pantry – Alpha & Omega Church to prepare and distribute sack lunches to a growing number of kids from Kreitner and Caseyville Schools. Ninety-five percent of the volunteers are Kreitner or Caseyville Elementary staff.
This summer (2019), REACH faces a challenge because the facility they utilized was sold. Poe, Kreitner Principal Dr. Todd Pettit and Caseyville Principal Chelsea Clark are optimistic the program won’t lose momentum because the community has been so generous in supporting it. The group has pledged the teachers and volunteers behind the program will deliver food from their cars if necessary.
Local St. Louis television station KSDK put together a news report about the REACH program. Click HERE to view the story.
The process is underway to have REACH designated a 501c3 not-for-profit organization. To learn more about REACH Summer Lunch Ministry, visit their Facebook page.
Mrs. Poe provided the following information from REACH:
•We would like to Reduce poverty with Eating opportunities and guided Activities to unite the Community and Homes together.
To be able to help State Park and Fairmont City area students have access to no cost lunches five days a week for 11 weeks beginning on May 28, 2019 and ending August 9, 2019.
What does each lunch include?
5 Items: Protein-lunchable or sandwich, Drink-water or juice, fresh fruit, 2 additional sides possibly including pretzels, crackers, yogurt, pudding, jellos, raisins, fruit snacks.
Ways to help:
DONATE Items Needed (for 100 lunches daily):
• Water Bottles or Juice pouches
• Single Serve Bag of Chips, Pretzels, Goldfish, Crackers etc.
• Fruit snacks, raisins, fruit cups, applesauce, puddings
• Sandwich or Snack Sized Plastic baggies
• Clean Plastic grocery store bags (can be used)
GIVE a monetary donation
• If donating by check or online to TWIGS please designate “State Park” in the comments section.
• There are about 11 weeks of summer. Each lunch costs about $1 a day. For ~$5,500 we could feed them EVERY weekday for the entire summer.
HELP an hour or two to pack lunches
Please contact REACH if you have any questions or if you are interested in volunteering:
Kimberly Poe: [email protected] / (618) 604-2971