Martin Memorial Library in downtown York wants to spread the word: They're serving lunch to students all summer long, and it's free.
The program runs from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. each weekday and offers children up to age 18 a balanced meal, said Laura O'Grady, the library's youth services librarian.
The program serves between 40 and 50 children each day, O'Grady said, but has enough food right now to feed about 60. And if more children show up, the library can increase the food delivered to the library each day, she said.
"If we've got this resource, we'd like to help more than we are," O'Grady said.
Monday, children picked up a tray in the Family Time center near the children's library heaped with tuna salad, bread to make sandwiches, three-bean salad, applesauce, and chocolate milk. The food is delivered each day by Channels Food Rescue, the library's sponsoring organization for the program.
Student reaction: Taijhalee Jordan, 12, said it was her first time getting lunch at the library. Her parents and grandmother were working, and she wanted to be at the library instead of at home.
"It's good for some people who can't eat at home," Jordan said.
Several teens said the free lunch was an advantage because they spend a lot of their summer inside Martin's Teen Forum area, where they can read or use computers. Livia Simeon and Isaiah Smith, both 17, said they've been eating the lunches since the program started four years ago. James Eisert, 17, said it's also money his mother doesn't have to spend during the summer months when school isn't in session.
"You don't get that many free things," said Jake Whitfield, also 17. "It saves money."
There are a few things the teens aren't huge fans of, including spinach casserole and squash. But items such as sloppy joes made the list of favorites.
There aren't any requirements for children to receive a free lunch, O'Grady said. The last day of the library's lunch program is Aug. 15.
— Reach Nikelle Snader at firstname.lastname@example.org.