BRIEF: Episcopal Diocese offers Stone Soup Café summer food program

stonesoupThe Episcopal Diocese of Spokane has announced its sponsorship of a Simplified Summer Food Program for Children, a child nutrition strategy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The pilot program, Stone Soup Café, will be hosted by the West Central Episcopal Mission. Meals and activities are available at no charge to attending children, one to 18 years of age, according to a press release.

The Stone Soup Café will operate for a 10-week period, June 23 — Aug. 29. The café will serve breakfast (8:30 – 9:15 a.m.) and lunch (11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.), Monday – Saturday. In addition to meals, they will be offering a Monday – Friday program of arts, crafts, recreational and other activities to provide a fun, safe environment for Spokane-area children, from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Providing a source for summer nutrition for low-income children who receive lunch and/or breakfast at school has been a focus of the U.S. Department of Agriculture since 1968. As poverty continues to increase, the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the agency which oversees the food sites in Washington State, has step-upped their efforts to find qualified sponsors to ensure no child goes hungry during the long summer school break. Currently, Washington State ranks 38th out of 50 states for the number of summer food sites available, according to a press release.

The West Central Episcopal Mission was chosen to host the pilot program as it is located in an area which can have a major impact on children. There are approximately 1,900 children living within the West Central neighborhood, and 96 precent of the West Central households qualify for free or reduced school meals. Last year, there were a handful of summer food sites which could not meet the needs of the entire neighborhood.

As a sponsor, the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane has the ability to expand the number of summer food sites in Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho by making it possible for its congregations to operate a Stone Soup Café in their area under the umbrella of the Diocese.

The contact person for the program is Tracey Waring who can be contacted at (509) 481-1167 or tlwaring728@msn.com.

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