Summer lunch and books at Oakland library

June 23, 2013 by  

The Oakland Public Library is once again offering free lunches for children during the summer vacation. Pete Villasenor, the branch manager of the library, got used to children spending time at the library when schools closed during summer, but also noticed that kids would ask for money for food. The Oakland Public Library decided to collaborate with the Alameda County Food Bank and the City of Oakland to provide free lunches for the children.

In 2011, just four branches of the library took part in the project, with volunteers dishing out food to the children who were being read to by the librarians. Gradually, librarians introduced activities for the kids to take part in after lunch. In 2012, the project was trialed in 11 library branches, with over 7,500 lunches being served up to the children. Another eight branches are to join the project this year, but with literary activities being provided along with the food to help learning. The California Library Association has joined forces with the California Summer Meal Coalition to work with libraries across the state. The project will be supervised and evaluated by the Oakland Public Library.

As the project becomes increasingly popular, more volunteers will be required, which is why local stationery printers may be utilized to provide information to people in the area. The project will encourage participation in activities for all ages, including writing book reviews and writing workshops to planting seeds in a garden at the library, with prizes being awarded.