MUST Ministries' Summer Lunch program to launch June 1

·2 min read

May 19—The summer season often brings thoughts of vacationing at the beach, going fishing or beating the heat with ice cream and popsicles. But for many children in Cobb, the summer season brings one, major thought: How am I going to eat?

Marietta-based MUST Ministries has worked for the past 28 years to feed these children through its Summer Lunch program, which will launch on June 1. The donor-based program serves Cobb and seven other area counties and provided a record 544,450 meals to more than 6,370 children last year in just nine weeks. MUST hopes to do even more this year through food and financial donations.

"For many children, free and reduced lunches at their schools are the only meals they receive," said MUST President & CEO Ike Reighard. "We try to fill that gap and keep them fed and healthy — one child, one meal at a time."

Reighard said inflation has increased the cost of food dramatically, creating strains on MUST's food supplies and food partners such as the Atlanta Community Food Bank, as well as on families who cannot afford the hefty grocery bills.

MUST provides the Summer Lunch meals through "Kids' Kits." Each child will receive five breakfasts and five lunches in the kit, plus drinks and snacks. MUST is encouraging donors and groups to gather and put together the Kids' Kits as a fun activity that will also make a difference in these children's lives. People can also donate items through MUST's Amazon Wish List or deliver or ship the items to the MUST Donation Center, 1280 Field Parkway in Marietta. The Donation Center is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Donations for the program should be labeled "MUST Summer Lunch."

"All of our programs are important because they help people in many different ways, but Summer Lunch is one of our most meaningful because we're able to directly impact thousands of children's lives," said Reighard. "The number of kids that need food this summer is significant, perhaps bigger than it has ever been. But that's our calling. There has never been a better time in our 51-year history to serve others with compassion."

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