Summer Lunch Program Provides More than Food for Students

HONESDALE, Pa. -- School's out, but lunch is still an option for kids in Wayne County -- free lunch.

On a sweltering day in June, kids were out of school and in the Cooperage in downtown Honesdale. The air conditioning might be nice, but the price of lunch is unbeatable.

"It's fun, and it's nice of them to make all the lunch for us," said Phoenix Matthys.

Phoenix Matthys is going into sixth grade and stopped by the "Kid's Lunch Party" on its first day of the season. It's a free lunch program for kids with plenty more than just what's on the menu.

"It's fun because we can do all the activities. We got some weaving thing over there, drawing here."

"It gives them something to do, something to look forward to. How can you beat free lunches? (It's a) break for the parents," said parent Kristina Matthys.

It's the second year now for the free lunch program at the Cooperage in downtown Honesdale. That means Monday through Friday with the exception of Fourth of July. Kids can eat here free from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

"We partner with the WHSD (Wayne Highlands School District). They prep all the food and bring a staff person down who's wonderful," said Ryanne Jennings, The Cooperage Project.

The school district provides the food. The Cooperage provides the place and the fun.

Dawn Schwab makes a point to bring the grandkids so they can interact with other kids their age and get a well-rounded meal.

"They play music for the kids, do games for the kids, not only lunch. It's a good time," Schwab said.

The kids' lunch party runs through the first week of August and will include yoga, chess, and a daily lesson on how best to dispose of their waste.