Who says there’s no free lunch?

A South Kitsap church near Gorst is offering children free meals this summer as part of the federal government’s low-income lunch program.

Bishop Job Sepetaio of the Family Church of God Pentecostal said his church has been operating a soup kitchen for the past two years, serving meals three nights a week. Through interactions with the families who attended, Sepetaio said he learned that many children go without necessary meals over the summer.

During the summer months, Sepetaio said, children who receive breakfast and lunch at their schools through the United States Department of Agriculture’s free-and-reduced lunch program often go hungry at meals during the summer months.

To help alleviate the problem, Sepetaio said a staff of volunteers at his church decided to start serving breakfast this summer to needy children. However, the plan quickly changed to a lunch-time meal.

“We didn’t have any children show up for breakfast,” Sepetaio said. “But then they came in the afternoon, wanting lunch.”

So the church moved the serving time from between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. to begin instead at 11 a.m. and run until 2 p.m.

Since the meals will be offered in conjunction with the USDA program, Sepetaio said his church will be reimbursed for the food they serve to children.

Church secretary Diana Homay said the weekly menus were prepared following the the program’s guidelines, which stipulate each meal contain the proper balance of breads, dairy and fruit. Typical meals, Homay said, include: oatmeal, yogurt and juice; dry cereal, milk and fruit or juice; or scrambled eggs, toast, and juice.

Homay said all kids who are currently enrolled in the South Kitsap School District’s free-and-reduced lunch program qualify for the meals.

“But we will not turn any child away,” she said.

Attendees do not have to be a member of the church or live nearby, she said, explaining that any child is welcome to eat.

Meals will be served from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays until August 19.

The church is located at 4211 Feigley Road. For more information, call 360-782-1199.

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