Weatherford Democrat

June 3, 2014

First United Methodist aims to fight hunger


Weatherford Democrat

WEATHERFORD —

By BRIAN SMITH

One Weatherford First United Methodist Church member is working on a way to get more children the food they need during the summer.

Julie Enlow is working on bringing to Weatherford a program that helped provide 35,000 meals last summer to Granbury residents last summer. Weatherford Independent School District provided a summer lunch program during prior summers and fed about 100 kids per day at one site, or about 6,000 meals throughout the summer, Enlow said. Many people have told Enlow they wanted their children to take part in the summer lunch program but couldn’t get their children to the site.

Enlow said with the help of a number of area churches and the WISD, children will be able to take advantage of a U.S. Department of Agriculture program that will provide lunches at six locations throughout the city this summer running June 9-Aug. 8. Lunch cooked by WISD cafeteria workers at Ikard Elementary will be distributed to Seguin, Travis and Wright Elementaries and possibly Tison Middle School as well as Weatherford, First United Methodist and the Western Lake Estates pavilion, Enlow said.

The woman in charge of the program in Granbury, Alicia Hernandez, has been hired to run the program in Weatherford, Enlow said. Enlow said there is unlimited potential for growth in the program and Weatherford is prime for expansion since nearly 50 percent of the district’s children qualify for free or reduced price lunches.

Enlow said the only requirements for getting a meal are being 18 years of age or younger and showing up for lunch.

“There are no eligibility requirements, no forms to fill out, and all kids are welcome,” Enlow said.

Enlow has been working with churches and volunteers on a distribution network to ensure food gets to all the sites five days a week. Two volunteers per school, or 12 total, are needed per day, Enlow said.

Getting children nutritional food is only part of the program. Enlow said in Granbury other programs work in conjunction with the summer lunch program and have teachers interact with kids and check on them. Studies by the Granbury ISD show that children in the summer lunch program retain more over the summer and are more focused and ready to start the new school year.

“Food is just the starting program and I really believe we are going to change kids’ lives in Weatherford,” Enlow said. “There is simply so much growth potential here and the community and its churches have been so very supportive along with the school district.”

A volunteer orientation is scheduled for May 29 at 5:30 p.m. inside the First United Methodist sanctuary, 301 S. Main St., in Weatherford.