A program that allowed campers in the Invensys Foxboro YMCA summer program to be provided with free breakfast and snacks marked another successful year with the help of an additional organization in providing the food.
Lauren Hynes, nutrition director at the Foxboro branch, said the Y partnered with the Foxboro Food Pantry and Knights of Columbus Council 6063 in Foxboro/Sharon in providing the free breakfasts, lunches, and snacks to need-based campers as part of this year’s program.
Between 9 and 15 campers were served through the program which ran from June 25 to Aug. 30, Hynes said.
“This year, the Knights of Columbus held a food drive, which was excellent because it allowed the Foxboro Nutrition Department and Foxboro Food Pantry to list the exact items we were looking for to provide our summer campers with healthy lunches, snacks, and breakfasts,” she said.
Menu items included Sun Butter sandwiches on whole-grain bread, fruit, Pirate’s Booty snacks or whole-grain goldfish, granola bars, apple sauce and water.
Emily Hanlon, a nutrition student from Framingham State University; Caroline Chisholm, a public health student from UMass Amherst; Ally Fontes, a student at North Attleboro High School and Alexa Distefano, a health studies student at Bridgewater State University, were interns who helped out with the program this summer.
Hynes said the parents were very appreciative.
One parent wrote: “The summer lunch program was an awesome help this summer. With early mornings and late afternoons, I knew my child would have a healthy and filling meal to get him through the hot summer days.”
“All of our summer campers should have the opportunity to have the best summer ever when they are here at camp. Without a full belly, that can be hard to do. Knowing that the campers will have a healthy and nourishing meal while they are here, is a comforting feeling. We are so grateful for our partnership with the Foxboro Food pantry and the Knights of Columbus for allowing us to offer this service,” Hynes said.
Paula Dailey, one of coordinators at the Foxboro food pantry, said the summer lunch program was very successful this year as well as last year. She noted, in particular, the Knights of Columbus’s food drive at St. Mary’s Church which helped the pantry collect specific snacks requested by the camp program.
“That drive was great. The St Mary’s community was very generous as usual,” Dailey said.
She said the Greater Boston Food Bank was able to provide fresh produce to the camp program as well.
“The goal of the food pantry is to provide food to people that need it. When school is not in session, and children aren’t getting free or reduced lunches at school, helping the camps allows us to get food to those children in need,” Dailey said.
Frank Nelson, Grand Knight of Knights of Columbus council 6063, said he believes that charity starts in the local community.
“We found out what food was needed and reached out to our parish. The generosity of St. Mary’s was again evident in the donations which happened in a short time period,” Nelson said, adding the experience this summer was very positive and should grow if the food pantry wants them to repeat next summer.