Organization holding summer food giveaway at Chelsea Library

Published 3:18 pm Monday, June 28, 2021

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CHELSEA – The summer months can present financial difficulties for families while children are out of school and without access to meals served in their school cafeterias.

To ease the strain, the Matthew 25:35 Outreach Organization is operating its No Child Hungry program at the Chelsea Public Library on Mondays and Wednesdays from noon to 2 p.m.

During this two-hour time frame, families in need may drop by the library to pick up food and household supplies, free of charge.

Meyoka Carmichael, the organization’s director, said the goal is to provide each child with a week’s worth of food.

“We found that kids were going to school and they were only eating while they were at school,” Carmichael said. “When they got home, they had nothing to eat for the rest of the night.”

Supplies include laundry detergent, household cleaners and toiletry items, Carmichael said.

The organization has served about 100 families during the first two weeks of the program, which will continue until children go back to school in August.

“We plan to end it the week before kids go back to school, but if we need to extend it, we will,” Carmichael said.

Volunteers will distribute food and supplies from the library’s back patio.

Although the program started as a resource for children over the summer break, Carmichael said the organization has expanded it to serve families and even college students struggling with food insecurity throughout the year.

“It has turned into not just a summertime thing, but a year-round thing,” Carmichael said.

The organization’s name references the scripture verse Matthew 25:35: “For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited me in.”

Carmichael said the group ramped up its efforts to assist families coping with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People’s financial situations changed, and a lot of families were afraid or embarrassed to ask for help,” she said. “We wanted to make every family feel like you’re not in this alone. We’ve all been through this, and we’re going to come out of this together.”

Carmichael said Matthew 25:35 had to vacate its previous building because of hazardous conditions, and she is in the process of finding a new permanent building.

“As long as we can get the job done, we’re going to keep going,” she said.