Brown Bag Lunch Program Returns For It’s 30th Year This Summer

Article submitted by Holy Family Catholic Community.

As the Brown Bag Lunch Program celebrates its 30th anniversary, Holy Family Catholic Community and The Salvation Army are once again partnering to feed hundreds of children and families through the program this summer.

The city’s longest-running summer lunch program began with the Salvation Army in 1993 as the organization recognized a need in our community. While during the school year children are ensured one lunch a day, during summer vacation, families can no longer depend on these meals, requiring parents who already are struggling financially to have to find ways to further stretch their budgets, or make the difficult decision to go without a meal. Enter Brown Bag Lunch Program. Since then, the program has offered a free sack lunch to children and families every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the summer months.

Seeing the continuing need amid the pandemic, Holy Family Catholic Community joined in the effort in 2021, helping to bolster the program during a difficult time and spotlighting the care for community that is at its heart.

Two years later, the parish continues to lead the program on Tuesdays, with volunteers packing 300 lunches comprised of donations from the parish community, as well as the greater Fond du Lac community. On Thursdays, Salvation Army volunteers pack and distribute lunches from donations, as well, for a total of 600 lunches a week. These bagged meals include a peanut butter or meat sandwich, water/juice, chips/snack, fruit/vegetable, and a dessert item.

“The Brown Bag Lunch Program can be a lifeline for families who are struggling to make ends meet. If a family has to choose between putting food on their table or keeping the lights on, a meal like this can help to ease some of that burden. It can be a steppingstone towards helping them get back on their feet,” Holy Family Catholic Community Director of Human Concerns Erin Cobb said. “We all need help from time to time, and we are grateful not only that the support of our parish allows us to be a helping hand, but that we are part of a community like Fond du Lac that continues to see the value in supporting a program like this for 30 years.”

This support is incredibly important as the program is as needed as ever. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, food prices have risen by 7.7% in the past year, hitting families’ wallets hard.

The program is further powered by acts of kindness from across our community, including from A&W, who provides bags for the meals, and Eaton’s Fresh Pizza, who provides meat for the sandwiches. Faris Gourmet Popcorn & Treats, as well as a generous anonymous donor, have contributed cheese and bananas to the program. If you are interested in donating to the program, you can give anonymously or in remembrance of someone, carrying their memory forward with kindness. To learn more, please contact The Salvation Army at (920) 923-8220.

While other meal programs operate in the Fond du Lac area during the summer, the Brown Bag Lunch Program tries to go directly to the areas of most need, so kids and families do not need to travel as far to get the food. From Tuesday, June 13 to Thursday, August 24, meals can be picked up at the following locations:

· Church of Peace, 401 S. Military Rd. (Parking Lot): 11:00-11:15 am

· Lakeside Garden Apartments, 409 N. Peters Ave.: 11:00-11:15 am

· Maplewood Commons Apartments, 912 Martin Ave.: 11:00-11:15 am

· The Salvation Army, 237 N. Macy St.: 11:30-12:15 pm

Children can pick up their own lunch, but an adult must be present for any family wanting more than one lunch.

Additional food program information:

Holy Family Catholic Community invites those in need of food to come to its Blessed Bites program, which runs on Tuesdays throughout the year. Through the program, people can receive a free to-go meal, canned/boxed goods, and hygiene/home care items for free when they come to St. Mary Church, 59 E. Merrill Ave. Food is available from 4:00 to 5:00 pm — or until meals are gone.

The Salvation Army of Fond du Lac County offers a pantry for people in need. The pantry distributes food during the summer from 10:00 am to 1:30 pm Monday through Thursday, and from 10:00 am to noon on Fridays at its center, 237 N. Macy St. Clients can return to the pantry once every 30 days, and the amount of food they receive is determined by resources available and household size.