Although a joyful season for many, the summertime can be a time of worry and concern for families facing food insecurity; with families in need wondering as to how to feed their children when they’re not in school. At times, however, all it takes to feed a community is a few blessings and a little bit of sunshine; as delivered by area help agencies and the school system itself.
People Helping People in Hernando County launched its SUMMER BLESSINGS program the week of June 21 for Hernando County families. Summer Blessings is an off-shoot of PHP’s Weekend Blessings program already in place in several Hernando schools and involves food delivery to three locations.
Barbara Nassar, Director, Weekend Blessings, People Helping People in Hernando County, says that the program is intended to help fill in foodservice gaps for families in need. “Summer Blessings’ is a program geared to under 18 children in Hernando County. Even though Hernando County School Nutrition Department will be handing out 7 days worth of food at several locations, PHP thought that a little “extra” food couldn’t hurt!! Most of the children we serve are in crisis or in a “homeless” situation (not staying in their own home) so any amount of food they get is welcome,” she said.
Summer Blessings will supply these locations with a bag of weekend food for any child under age 18, June 25 through July 30. These bags, containing juice boxes, granola bars, cereal, protein lunches and several snacks along with fresh fruit when available, will be distributed along with food supplied by the Nutrition Department at two of these locations. One of the trio of locations will not be distributing food directly from the Nutrition Department (details below). All three locations will run from June 25 through July 30. “This food really supplements what they are getting from the Nutrition Department. Whereas they are able to give out fresh food, PHP can supply the grab and go type items children enjoy and can prepare by themselves,” said Nassar.
“St. Joan of Arc on Spring Hill Drive will be handing out bags each Friday but the school department does not have food delivery there. You can pick up bags from 11:00 am -12:30 pm each Friday. The HELP Center at 1396 Kass Circle will have Summer Blessings bags available each Friday from 11:00 am – 12:30 pm as well. ONLY Delta Woods Park and Westside Elementary will have the Nutrition Department food available. The other two locations are free-standing locations,” said Nassar.
The full list is:
• St. Joan of Arc, 13485 Spring Hill Drive – Summer Blessings bags ONLY
• Delta Woods Park, 3400 Deltona Blvd – BOTH
• Westside Elementary, 5400 Applegate Drive – BOTH
Nassar feels that the Summer Blessings program symbolizes a natural extension of People Helping People’s purpose and mission. “As Weekend Blessings has served over 600 children each week during each school week, PHP knew that the need does not stop after the school year. PHP believes that hunger, in any form, needs to be addressed and Summer Blessings is our answer to that,” she said. “People Helping People is committed to serving all of Hernando County’s hunger issues but there is a special need in the area of our children.”
People Helping People in Hernando County, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Its mission is to end hunger in Hernando County by breaking the cycle of poverty among the people it serves. PHP’s core programs are Weekend Blessings, Neighborhood Blessings, Senior Blessings, and Sunday Blessings. For more information call 352-686-4466, find us on Facebook, or visit PHPhernando.org.
Also providing needed food assistance to Hernando children in need is Hernando County Schools Food and Nutrition Services, which is hosting the 2021 Summer Meal Service Program. Also called Seamless Summer, this program will run June 21 through July 30, but will be closed July 5. This program provides no-cost breakfast and lunch for all children ages 18 and younger. “These are healthy, well-balanced meals,” said Jennifer Patrick, marketing and team development at Hernando County Schools, “Provided at no cost to children.”
These no-cost grab-and-go meals will be served daily, children will receive lunch for that day and breakfast the next morning. School drive-thru sites are:
Westside Elementary (11:45 am-12:15 pm)
Brooksville Elementary, 885 N. Broad Street, Brooksville (11-11:30 am)
Nature Coast High School, 4057 California St., Brooksville, (11:45 am-12:15 pm)
Eastside Elementary, 27151 Roper Road, Brooksville, (11:45 am-12:15 pm)
JD Floyd Elementary, 3139 Dumont Ave., Spring Hill, (11:45 am-12:15 pm)
and Pinegrove Elementary, 14411 Ken Austin Parkway, Brooksville, (11:45 am-12:15 pm).
Mobile meal stops are:
Delta Woods Park, 3400 Deltona Blvd., Spring Hill (12-12:30 pm),
Bridgewater Apartments, 4300 Bridgewater Club Loop, Spring Hill (11:45 am-12:15 pm),
Nantucket Apartments, 400 Cape Cod Loop, Spring Hill (12:30-1 pm),
Elks Lodge, 13383 County Line Rd, Brooksville (1-1:30 pm),
Freedom Gardens Apartments, 932 Freedom Way, Brooksville (12:30-12:50 pm), and
Brookhaven Apartments, 7781 Crystal Brook Cir, Brooksville (11:45 am to 12:15 pm).
For more information about Seamless Summer at Hernando County Schools, visit https://www.hernandoschools.org/departments/food-nutrition/index or call 352.797.7000.