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Funding woes could scale back Helpline’s summer-lunch program

South Kitsap Helpline again has volunteered to provide a summer-lunch program in August. But short on cash, executive director Jennifer Hardison is not certain how extensive it will be.

Helpline, a nonprofit food bank run out of the old Port Orchard Nursery on Mitchell Avenue, developed its summer-lunch program several years ago.

“We figured we needed to step in and help out,” Hardison said. “We never really had the staff for that. We just kind of strung it together.”

It initially was a 10-week program, but Hardison said it was scaled back in 2010 when the South Kitsap School District developed its own. Hardison said Helpline then went to a two-week lunch session in August to close a gap between the district’s program and the beginning of school.

Helpline’s program traditionally has run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekdays. Hardison said participants receive a snack when they arrive, engage in an activity and then eat lunch before leaving. During the 10-day program last year, Helpline served 177 lunches, she said.

Funding is “so tight” this year that the activity portion of the program likely will be eliminated. Hardison said Helpline might not be able to provide more than a sack lunch when it picks up after SKSD’s program ends on Aug. 17.

Helpline’s program likely will run from Aug. 20-31.

Hardison said donations can be made specifically toward the summer-lunch program at www.skhelpline.org or at the facility.

 

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