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Morgan Memorial feeds kids this summer

Suffolk Public Library will be providing free meals to kids and teens this summer at Camp Suffolk Public Library’s very own mess hall.

Camp SPL, housed at Morgan Memorial Library, will offer up to 50 free lunches to kids and teens that are 18 or under Monday through Friday starting June 25.

Morgan Memorial is partnered with both the Virginia Department of Education and No Kid Hungry to be able to provide the meals. The meals will be healthy, and participants will be able to try some new foods like hot peppers, cucumbers, onions, edamame and tomatoes that have grown in the garden at the library.

The raised bed garden was installed June 8 with help from Shelley Barlow with Healthy Suffolk and Shawna LoMonaco from Suffolk Public Library. Healthy Suffolk donated all the materials used to build the gardens.

“Children attending Mess Hall will learn about the benefits of growing their own food, choosing healthier eating options and will be responsible for watering and weeding the garden,” LoMonaco said in a press release.

The meals are available from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. during the week from June 25 to Aug. 24, and the meals are funded by the USDA. The program is administered through the Virginia Department of Education, and these programs happen all over the country.

“We understand that in order for kids to pursue their passions and to be successful, they need to have their basic needs met, and unfortunately when school is out, many kids in Suffolk do not have the means to eat during the day,” Jennifer Brown, youth and family services manager, stated in a press release. “We want to provide an opportunity for kids to explore, learn and engage with one another. With our Mess Hall program, we are providing an experience that nourishes their minds and their bodies at the same time.”

There will be more than just food happening at the library; there will also be activities for the kids to participate in during the day.

Every day has a theme during the week, and the themes stay the same throughout the summer. Monday will feature arts and crafts, Tuesday will feature technology and coding, Wednesday will feature games and puzzles, Thursday will feature engineering activities and Friday will feature outside games.

Those participating in the camp will also have a camper card that lets them borrow and return a book every day.