Thank You for Feeding Ms. Gunner’s Kids – All 130 of Them!
During the summer, the lights come on a little earlier at Second Harvest Food Bank.
Volunteers and staff arrive well before dawn to prepare meals for the Child Summer Feeding Program, a massive operation that provides much-needed nutrition to at-risk children while they are out of school.
“It’s been a great summer,” said Gina Melita, Director of the Community Kitchen. “We’ve significantly exceeded our goals of 176,000 meals served to more than 3,000 individual children.”
The meals are delivered daily to dozens of sites across several parishes. Bonnie Gunner is the director of the food pantry at New Life Christian Center in New Iberia, one of 67 sites that distribute the meals to children over the course of the nine-week program.
“Many of the children we see are in such unfortunate situations,” Gunner told us. “They’re being raised in a home with one parent, and sometimes that parent is working just to keep up with the bills.”
There are days she sees more than 130 children at her site.
“The kids, they’re looking for something hot to eat, and it’s really a blessing. They know at home, they won’t be able to get what they’re getting here…they come in with a smile, and leave full. And it makes us feel good.”
In addition to running the food pantry, Gunner is a full-time Juvenile Detective with the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office. Her job brings her into daily contact with at-risk children.
“I know the things these kids are going through,” she said. “Malnutrition leads to juvenile delinquency and problems in childhood development. Kids will go out and commit crimes to try to feed themselves…but by partnering with Second Harvest, we can get these same kids over to the church and feed them.”
Back at the Community Kitchen, Melita is already making plans for next summer.
“We are really looking forward to expanding the program further. It just would not be possible without the support of our volunteers and donors.”
So thank you for helping to feed Ms. Gunner’s kids – all 130 of them. Because of you, they know that they’ve got a hot meal waiting for them every Monday through Friday at the New Life Christian Center.