By EMILY SPARACINO / Editor-in-chief
CHELSEA – The summer months can present financial difficulties for families when children do not attend school and do not have access to meals served in school canteens.
To alleviate the pressure, outreach organization Matthew 25:35 offers its No Child Hungry program at the Chelsea Public Library on Mondays and Wednesdays from noon to 2 p.m.
During this two-hour period, families in need can visit the library to collect free food and household supplies.
Meyoka Carmichael, the organization’s director, said the goal is to provide each child with a week’s worth of food.
“We found out that the kids went to school and they only ate while they were in school,” Carmichael said. “When they got home, they had nothing to eat for the rest of the night.”
The supplies include laundry detergent, household cleaners and toiletries, Carmichael said.
The organization served around 100 families during the first two weeks of the program, which will continue until the children return to school in August.
“We plan to end it the week before the kids go back to school, but if we need to extend it, we will,” Carmichael said.
Volunteers will distribute food and supplies from the back patio of the library.
Although the program began as a resource for children over the summer vacation, Carmichael said the organization has expanded it to serve families and even students struggling with food insecurity throughout the year. ‘year.
“It has become not only a summer thing, but a year round thing,” Carmichael said.
The name of the organization refers to the Bible verse Matthew 25:35: “For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited me in.
Carmichael said the group has stepped up efforts to help families cope with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“People’s financial situation changed and many families were afraid or embarrassed to ask for help,” she said. “We wanted every family to feel like you are not alone in this situation. We’ve all been through this and we’re going to come out together. “
Carmichael said Matthew 25:35 had to leave his old building due to unsafe conditions, and she is in the process of finding a new permanent building.
“As long as we can do the job, we will continue,” she said.