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It’s hard to believe that Summer is right around the corner, but it is here and we need your help. During summer vacation hundreds of children and teens will not receive a school lunch that they depend on. MUNCH (Madison Unites to Nourish Children at Home) is our mobile lunch program that delivers healthy lunches to eight neighborhoods in Dane County.

The River is dedicated to supporting the social and educational growth of our communities. It is hard to focus on continuing education or your community when you don’t know where your next meal is coming from. It is hard to care for younger siblings when you don’t know what you will feed them. Food insecurity is an ongoing hurdle for our clients and this is amplified during summer vacation.

“When their parents are at work during the summer months, I know many of these kids do not eat the healthy kind of food they need. This program makes a difference for these families.”

Rita-Northside Resident

So many of our clients depend on the lunches and snacks provided at local schools and with the end of the school year meaning more children will be at home, The River plans to meet them at their doorstep.

Starting on June 8th our MUNCH Coordinator, Joey Dunscombe, will be out in the MUNCH van every day to provide over 350 lunches to local children. This past Memorial Day I was out volunteering alongside my wife, a regular volunteer, and Joey. During this time I got to meet and talk to the neighbors we serve. The response from the neighborhoods is overwhelming. Children come rushing to the MUNCH van knowing that they are going to get a tasty and nutritious meal. One parent informed us that it was her son’s birthday. He turned five years old and she was ecstatic about how well he was doing in school and at home. The boy grinned and took an extra snack from my hands. Children ranging from two years old to sixteen years old are depending on our program for a healthy lunch and they are very thankful.

We are currently preparing for the influx of children being at home and we need help to sustain this vital program. If you are unable to provide a monetary gift, consider volunteering your time to prepare or distribute lunches throughout the summer. If you can’t give your time or funding, word of mouth and social media are crucial ways that you can support this program.

Our continual focus on creating a strong community starts with tackling problems in the areas we serve. MUNCH is a unique and rewarding initiative that enriches our clients in their own homes. This program is all in addition to our normal pantry sessions and we are excited to properly serve our local children. Consider giving a much-needed gift to MUNCH today.

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