LACONIA — Got Lunch! Laconia kicked off its third season by hosting school nurses from Laconia for lunch at T-Bones Restaurant.
''They're an important part of the program and the first contact for many families in the program,'' said John Walker, who along with Rev. Paula Gile of the Congregational Church of Laconia, two years ago helped start the now widely emulated program which provides weekly mid-day meal making during the summer months for school children.
''We're in the fund-raising phase right now,'' said Walker, who said the program expects to feed more than 550 children in Laconia this coming summer.
T-Bones is one of 10 local restaurants taking part in "Eat Out For Got Lunch! Laconia Week" in which people only have to mention to their server that they are supporting Got Lunch! and a portion of their check is donated to the program. People who ate at T-Bones, Cactus Jack's and Burrito Me on Monday were able to participate.
Today patrons of the Village Bakery (on Main Street) and the BrickFront Restaurant can take part. On Wednesday the scene will shift to Fratello's and Hector's. And on Friday, Tavern 27, the Lyon's Den and Patrick's Pub & Eatery will be the featured destinations.
More than 200 volunteers from community organizations take part in the program which over the past two years has delivered more 35,000 lunches to school children in the city.
This year starting on June 19, the team of Got Lunch! volunteers will fan out across the city to deliver, free of charge, a week's worth of lunch-making groceries to the families of children who qualify for the federal free or reduced-price lunch program when school is in session. The program runs for the weeks that school is not normally in session.
Organizers estimate that it takes $110 to provide one child with lunch groceries for the summer. There is also a dairy voucher program with vouchers redeemable at Vista for milk, eggs, cheese or yogurt.
Since the Got Lunch! Laconia program started in 2011 it has spread rapidly across the state and there are now nine programs this year and the number is expected to rise to at least 12 next year.
Volunteers kicked off "Eat Out For Got Lunch! Laconia Week" at T-Bones Restaurant Monday. Shown are Ryan Mayo, T-Bones server; Sandy Brallier, Got Lunch volunteer.; Paula Gile, associate pastor of the Congregational Church of Laconoia, Kerri Reynolds, Laconia Middle School nurse; Kate Rodrigue, Laconia High School nurse; Jessica Ganchi, Woodland Heights School nurse, and Stanley Brallier, Got Lunch volunteer. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)