Dinner is Served for Low-Income Derry Youth

Lower-income Derry children won’t go hungry this summer, thanks to two weekday feeding programs by concerned local agencies.

The Derry Salvation Army will continue its popular lunchtime canteen on  Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays through Aug. 21.  In addition, Southern New Hampshire Services will serve supper five days a week.

Kathleen Devlin of Southern New Hampshire Services said this week that the supper program is in its third year. Funded by the USDA, it seeks hungry kids from certain “catchment areas.” The catchment areas are based on the number of children receiving free or reduced price school lunches, and this year dinner will be served in Derry at Franklin Village Apartments, the Fairways, and Hood Park.

“The locations we chose in Derry went into that category,” Devlin said.

“The dinners are prepared at Southern New Hampshire Services’ central kitchen in Manchester and a team takes food to each location in the agency van”, Devlin said. “There’s a set schedule, so “kids know when we’re coming.” The children eat their dinners there and the staff carries out the trash”, she said.

“The response has been mixed”, Devlin said. While the crowds are smaller than at some of her other sites, she’s firm in her commitment to keep serving. “When we merged with Community Action, we made a strong commitmentto these children,” she said.

The meals follow the Federal school lunch guidelines, with a container of milk, a piece of fruit, usually an apple, orange, or plum they can eat out of hand; a vegetable, again usually one they can eat by hand such as peapods or cherry tomatoes; and a sandwich that takes care of their grain and meat requirement.  Sandwiches can be roast beef, turkey, chicken or tuna salad, or hummus in a pita.  “It’s a version of the school lunch program during the summer,” Devlin said.

“They won’t be checking eligibility requirements,” Devlin added. “It’s the location that qualifies, not the person.” However, the Fairways meals will be restricted to children who live in the complex. The Hood Park and Franklin Village meals are open to anyone.

Dinner is served to youths up to 18 years of age Monday through Friday.

The Salvation Army offers its free lunches Tuesdays at Fairways from noon to 1 p.m.; Wednesdays at Woodland Apartments across from South School in Londonderry, also noon to 1 p.m.; and Thursdays at Hood Park, noon to 1 p.m..

For more information on the SNHS program contact Devlin at 345-5478 or visit www.snhs.org.