Posted by Sandi Hanson

As we finish 10 weeks of Summer Lunch Program we are reminded just how generous this community is.  Our faithful volunteers that come out each week and help us bag is amazing.  I can't say enough about them.  They all show up ready to help in any way they can.  It is truly community connected!  



Bagging the food.

The Rotary Club of Yelm is bringing their community together to serve a need in feeding children this summer.  This will is our 3rd summer of the summer lunch program, nicknamed the “10 Weeks of Summer”. 
The target is to reach children who are receiving free and reduced lunches during the school year. When school is out, their need for nourishment continues. So, each week through the summer you will find Rotary members, and other community volunteers, busy packing about 200 bags of food for the kids. Last summer they distributed over 1800 bags and they expect to do even more this year!  We have added a distribution point in Rainier this year and it is proving to be popular.
Each Sunday afternoon begins by picking up their load of food from Walmart.  Walmart is a great partner in this program and has also awarded a $5000 grant to the club.  

The truck then makes the 1 mile trip to the Yelm Senior Center, where the food is unloaded by community volunteers and Rotarians.  We couldn't do it without all the community support.  This is truly a community project!

An assembly line is formed to bag the food in re-useable grocery bags donated by local business partners. The club has it down to an art and can have all the food unloaded and bagged in less than 2 hours!

Each Tuesday morning the teams pick up the bagged food and head out to meet the kids and parents at their distribution points. We are serving many new families this year as well as those we served last year. The need is there and they are grateful for the extra help
The total estimated cost of the summer program is $20,000. The club was approved for a $3,500 district grant from Rotary International, and The Nisqually Tribe awarded another grant of $5,000. Walmart of Yelm awarded a $5000 grant and provides a discount of the weekly food purchase and helps with the shopping and loading.   The remainder of the cost is covered with Club funds and other donations from supportive community members.