Without a happy belly summer camp can’t be a fun experience.
Or so says Lauren Hynes, nutrition director at the Invensys Foxboro YMCA, which partnered with the Foxboro Food Pantry in providing free breakfast, lunch, and snacks to need-based campers as part of the 2018 summer program.
According to Hynes, the program has served between 10-15 campers each week and relied on two summer interns from Framingham State University to help manage logistics.
The interns, Ann Dallamora of Marlboro and Emily Hanlon of Taunton, are both seniors majoring in food & nutrition at Framingham State. One of the two has been at the Foxboro Y every weekday this summer from 6:30 to 10:30 a.m. to pack and distribute food to the campers.
Dallamora said the program is very good and has been working well, and that she has enjoyed the interaction with various people. “Children seem happy when I give food,” she said. “The food pantry has been very generous.”
Dallamora said she can apply the hands-on experience on food handling, allergy awareness and temperature control to pursue her goal of becoming a nutritionist after graduation.
Hanlon also enjoyed the YMCA internship experience.
“Making sandwiches for kids and bringing it to the campers have been very rewarding,” said Hanlon, who was a summer YMCA camper herself as a youngster. “It gives me a lot of experience in ‘community nutrition,’ which is working in the community rather than a clinical setting.”
According to Paula Dailey, one of three coordinators at the local food pantry, the YMCA summer food program collaboration began last year. Initially, pantry volunteers delivered food to the Y each morning, but this year the interns come to the pantry each day for pick up.
“I think it’s an amazing program because kids have a great experience during the summer,” Dailey said. “I’m happy we can help out with foods.”
Hynes, who has been nutrition director since April 2016, said the summer food program ensures that participating families experience YMCA camp to its fullest.
“I think knowing our campers have full bellies, and the food they are eating is healthy, nutritious and nourishing, allows them to have the best summer ever and enjoy each day to the fullest,” she said.