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Free Summer Lunches in Jeopardy in Pottsville

POTTSVILLE, Pa. -- There may be some bad news for some families this summer in Schuylkill County.

The Pottsville Housing Authority says it cannot afford its recreation program this year and that could leave some children hungry.

At the Bunker Hill Park in Pottsville, some youngsters were working up an appetite, playing on a warm sunny day, sure to be ready to chow down on their favorite foods.

“It's macaroni and cheese,” said one kid.

“Pizza!” shouted another.

But there's a concern that many children here may go hungry this summer.

The Pottsville Housing Authority said that it cannot afford to host its summer recreation program this year, held at 14 area parks.

Between the hours of 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., housing authority workers arrange activities for children and provide them with a free lunch, but funding cuts made holding that impossible this year.

Parents say that it's a shame for kids who really rely on the free food as well as a supervised place to play.

“A lot of people in the area struggle. It's good to have,” said Jim Reed.

“It provides the kids something to do where they're not getting in trouble. They actually have other kids to play with,” said Tim Etzweiler. “Because sometimes a lot of the kids won't show up if there's no other kids around to play with. I don't want to be there. I'm going to stay inside, play video games.”

“Oh yeah, that's a shame for families who can't afford it and actually look forward to that. Yeah, that's a shame. I feel bad for them,” said Celeste Reilly.

But there's still some hope as the housing authority is continuing to seek ways to host the program.

At the Pottsville Library, the free lunches and activities will continue. Youth services librarian Darren DeArment says the St. Clair School District has offered to provide lunches there this summer. DeArment says he will be in charge overseeing those meals.

“At the very least, the Pottsville Library will still need to offer lunches because a lot of kids depend on it. Unfortunately, it might be the only meal some of them get that day,” said DeArment.

The library says there is a meeting next Wednesday to discuss holding free lunches at other sites this summer. Several agencies were invited to attend.

2 comments

  • jsrant

    How about the parents feeding there own kids. Stop relying on others to do your job. It’s bad enough that my hard work pays for all your freebies so when one of those are taken away just suck it up.

    • J (@ds18301)

      You probably have no idea how many billions of your tax dollars are going to free lunches to billionaires (i.e. corporate welfare): Exxon, Boeing, corporate farms, etc etc etc (all of trump’s billionaire buddies) so that they can buy their third private islands. This kind of program is not even a drop in the bucket compared to that.

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