The Family Center wants to serve more children
“Don’t leave food on the table” has been the mantra of moms for time immemorial, but one mom in Wilmore wants her neighbors to know that applies to the school meals program as well.
Tara Hall, who runs The Family Center, a nonprofit that is one of 14 participants in the Jessamine County Schools food service program is concerned that not enough parents are taking advantage of the drive-through meal deliveries because they think the food is only for the needy. It isn’t.
“There is always that idea that others need it more,” Hall said, but there is plenty of food, and the free lunches are for all schoolchildren 18 and younger. Parents can bring their children and collect the meals between 11:15 and 11:45 Monday through Friday at 334 E. Main St. in Wilmore, next to the railroad tracks and the red caboose.
She wants to remind parents that it’s their property taxes to the school district that are providing some of the funding for the food and school personnel who deliver them.
“Enjoy the food while it’s here. Let’s help everybody. We’re in an uncertain time, and we don’t know what our economic forecast is going to look like, so save the $20 you would spend on your lunch and come and get the food,” Hall said.
The Family Center is also doing things to try to make the daily visits fun for the kids. For example, her son, Daniel Rhodes, dressed up as Batman last week in a costume he made himself, and next week the children could be greeted by The Joker or Captain America.
“There are kids not getting out of the house at all,” except maybe to play in their yards, but they aren’t going anywhere, Hall said.
“And it’s kind of a fun thing for them to get in their car and go get the food, and they get to see something cool,” she said.
Starting later this week or early next week, Hall said, the center may also provide children bags with books or activities materials, and she’s thought about a craft program online. She and the volunteers are trying to come up with different things they can do to entertain children while they’re out of school.
“It’s about serving,” she said, so The Family Center is open to ideas and wants of the community.
Like small businesses, small nonprofits are going to be hit hard by the economic downturn that is being caused by the coronavirus epidemic, and Hall doesn’t know how long The Family Center can survive. She said she doesn’t want people to donate if they’re in a tight spot and can’t afford it, and many people can’t right now. However, this week, Hall said, Siobhan Adkins, who has been coming to The Family Center since she was pregnant with her first baby five years ago, informed the board that she would be starting a Facebook fundraiser.
The center operates on small donations from the community and activities donations for after-school and summer programs, but it has had to be closed throughout March, and probably will remain closed at least through May.