Free Summer Lunches
As food prices skyrocket, Dauphin County Library System is assuring that children get free, healthy meals when school is out through the return of summer lunches in strategically located libraries.
The “Oceans of Possibilities” Summer Reading Challenge also celebrates summer with prizes for reading, programs, activities, and educational fun.
· To register for the Summer Reading Challenge and to learn more about summer programs at The Library, visit dcls.org/src
The Library has hosted summer lunches for several years, even pivoting to deliver curbside lunches when libraries were employing COVID precautions in 2020 and 2021. As pandemic-related economic challenges continue this year, resuming sit-down service inside select libraries has been a priority, said Executive Director Karen Cullings.
“At a time when inflation is rampant, and parents are struggling to afford nutritious meals for their children, The Library is helping to fill the gap,” said Cullings. “Children are healthier and better able to learn, play, and enjoy all that summer offers when their bellies are full.”
This year’s lunches will be served Monday through Thursday (closed July 4 and 5) June 14 through Aug. 18 at these locations:
· William H. & Marion C. Alexander Family Library, Hummelstown, 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.
· East Shore Area Library, Lower Paxton Township, noon to 1:30 p.m.
· Madeline L. Olewine Memorial Library, Harrisburg, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
· Elizabethville Area Library, Elizabethville, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
· Northern Dauphin Library, Lykens, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
The lunches, comprising sandwiches and sides, are provided in partnership with Dauphin County Technical School and Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. The Summer Food Service Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
The summer fun continues — with a side of learning — through The Library’s “Oceans of Possibilities” Summer Reading Challenge.
From June through Aug. 31, preschoolers, school-aged kids, teens, and adults can earn points for reading books and other materials, writing or drawing reviews, and participating in ocean-themed STEM-related activities. Logging time and activities on Beanstack through the dcls.org/src webpage or on the Beanstack App makes it easy to track points.
Participants who reach the points target for their age group earn a free book and gift-card drawing entries starting August 1. Preschoolers, kids, and teens also receive an Explore Your Community bag full of discount coupons for local, family-friendly attractions when they have reached half of their points goal, starting on July 1.
“After more than two years of unprecedented upheaval, The Library’s Summer Reading Challenge is comfort food for the mind,” Cullings said. “Families have endured so much disruption, but the Summer Reading Challenge motivates parents and kids to rekindle the joys of reading together. Our challenge has always helped slow the ‘summer slide’ in learning. This year, it’s also helping kids regain some of the academics they lost when schools closed and education went virtual.”