In the spring of 2018 the South Congregational Church in Newport, New Hampshire, offered to help a group create a local G☺T LUNCH! program in order to serve Newport's schoolchildren.
Our Mission is to fill the nutritional gap when school vacations mean children who have been getting breakfast and lunch at school are at home without free or reduced meals.
Members of our Advisory Board are also faithful volunteers, helping with all aspects of the program.
This highly effective program provides healthy meals for students who receive free or reduced school lunch during the academic year. Nearly half of Newport students qualify — well above the state average. South Congregational Church acts as fiscal agent, provides storage and work space, and supplies many volunteers.
In 2019, its second year of operation, GLN made 11 weekly deliveries to 138 children in 55 households — reaching twice as many children as the previous summer! We have also added deliveries for winter and spring school breaks. The program has been embraced by community members and businesses, and it has gratefully received grants from local and regional charitable foundations.
In its third year GLN will target families who have participated in the Weekend Backpack programs for Newport, Goshen, Lempster, Croydon and Sunapee schools. It is estimated that GLN will serve 100-120 children in 2020. [NOTE: This estimate was too low: GLN has reached 275 children during the pandemic!] The estimated cost per child for 11 weeks of summer plus 3 school vacation weeks food is approximately $130.
G☺T LUNCH! Newport is a 100% volunteer operation coordinated by a working Advisory Board augmented with an estimated 50 volunteers who gather, organize, pack and deliver the groceries weekly. It is funded through grants and private donations to purchase foods through the New Hampshire Food Bank and through partnering with local grocers.