Lunchmobile delivers food and fun in Plain City area

Daily Needs Assistance (DNA), located in Plain City, is trying something new. Each Wednesday, the Summer Lunch- mobile delivers substantial lunches, along with supplemental food bags and activity packets, to children in the Jonathan Alder School District whose families might be struggling financially. The program is a hit. The first week, the lunchmobile served 90 children. The second week, the tally was up to 141. The lunchmobile replaces this year’s summer camp.

(Posted June 17, 2020)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The staff at Daily Needs Assistance (DNA) has found a silver lining to cancelling this year’s summer camp. Their alternative, the Summer Lunchmobile, is reaching more children.

Located in Plain City, DNA is a non-profit, faith-based organization that offers programs to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the community. Traditionally, a four-week summer camp is one of those programs. The camp operates five days a week, two-and-half hours a day, and features free transportation, lunch, and activities, including a kid-run restaurant that’s open to the public.

When COVID-19 restrictions took the camp off the table this year, DNA came up with the lunchmobile idea. Each Wednesday, the staff distributes a substantial lunch, supplemental food bags, and activity packets to area children. The focus is families in the Jonathan Alder School District who might be struggling financially.

On June 10, the lunchmobile served 141 children, up from 90 the week before. On an average day, the summer camp would serve 60 children.

“By taking items to families, we are expanding the number of kids we are serving. It also ends up being an outreach to let them know DNA exists. That direct contact helps us connect to families who were not taking advantage of what we have to offer,” said Tamara Reed, executive director.

In addition to the large lunch, the lunchmobile’s supplemental food bags include enough food to make another one or two meals. For example, one week, the food bag included a package of flour tortillas, oranges, bananas, canned chicken, an onion and celery.

The activity packets are generous, too. Goodies have included journal pages, drawing pads and pencils, playing cards, Frisbees, hula hoops, and a variety of sports equipment. Optional contests and challenges accompany the packets, giving participants a chance to win prizes.

“We’re just trying to get kids engaged and moving and out of the house, instead of spending their time on video games,” Reed said.

The lunchmobile travels to several locations each week. Families also are welcome to pick up packets at the DNA Community Center. Hours each Wednesday are 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Anyone who would like to participate in the program just needs to visit and click on the green button to register. DNA does not ask for proof of income.

The first lunchmobile distribution took place on June 3. The program will run through the first week of August. Families can sign up at any time.

Volunteers are welcome and can sign up via DNA’s website. Donations of food and activity packet items are welcome, as well. Look for “Daily Needs Assistance Plain City” on Facebook, where organizers post their current needs along with contact information.

The Daily Needs Assistance Community Center is located at 340 W. Main St., Plain City.

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