A Farmington church will host free lunches for low-income children at Bjorn Park this summer, the second site for the federally funded program.

Volunteers from Old South First Congregational Church were given approval by selectmen Tuesday night to set up a satellite site for the free or reduced lunch summer program.

Bjorn Park, at the corner of High Street and U.S. Route 2, will host lunches on Mondays and Wednesdays from June 29 to July 20. Mallett School, on Middle Street, serves lunch Monday through Thursday and is the main site of the church’s program.

Chris Magri, co-chairman of the church’s outreach committee, told selectmen that the group plans to set up shortly before noon, and he doesn’t anticipate the church leaving the park any later than 1 p.m. Selectmen told him to check in with police beforehand because there is limited parking and the park is near a busy intersection.

Magri said if the new program is popular and ends up with too many cars for the area, they will look to find parking solutions.

“That’s a good problem to have,” said Magri, also adding that the church can also put on its informational fliers that parking is limited.

Adults who accompany children will also get lunch, paid for by the church, Magri said.

As of October, 53.7 percent of Mt. Blue Regional School District students were eligible for free or reduced lunches. The program is funded by the federal Summer Food Service Program.

Before the meeting, Magri said in an email to the board that until the church started the program “there weren’t any free lunches available, so we are excited to have this opportunity to make a difference for hungry children in our community.”

Meals served in the park will be prepared by volunteers at Mallett School. Then they’ll deliver them to the park, set up and tear down tables and chairs, and supervise the children while they eat.

Magri said in the email to the town that Congregational Church members are looking for other churches to join the effort so they can have enough volunteers to run the program at the park four days a week in 2016 rather than just two days as planned this summer.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252

[email protected]


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