Alle-Kiski Valley breakfast programs ready to rise, shine
Once or twice a month over the summer, the breakfast crowd at United Presbyterian Church of New Kensington swells.
The church typically feeds about 80 people during its United Mornings in the Summer program, which provides a free hot breakfast to area residents, many who are struggling to make ends meet.
But on days when Chanda Moyes is cooking her banana pancakes, word starts to circulate in the community, often drawing a crowd of 120 people or more.
"Banana pancake day is by far our biggest day," said Moyes, kitchen manager and church secretary. "We serve them once or twice a month, and as soon as people find out, they start showing up.
"It happens every time."
United Mornings is a church-sponsored ministry that relies on congregational and community giving to operate. Moyes said it costs as much as $5,000 to run the program each year from mid-June to the end of August.
This summer's United Mornings program begins Tuesday. Breakfasts will be served from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays through Aug. 29. The church is located at Fifth Avenue and Sixth Street.
Richard and Jame Reese, a brother and sister from New Kensington who volunteer at United Mornings, said not everyone who eats breakfast at the church is struggling financially. Many, such as some senior citizens, are just looking to have some company during a meal.
"It's open to everyone in the community," said Jame, 13. She and her brother, who is 15, are Moyes' niece and nephew.
Other local ministries, such as Solid Rock Church of God in Kiski Township, serve a free meal, largely in an effort to involve themselves in the community.
Solid Rock serves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a drink on Wednesdays during the summer at Owens Grove in Apollo. The Rev. Twila Rearick, a church pastor, said the goal is to spread the Gospel. The effort isn't specifically geared toward low-income residents.
Most of the free breakfast and lunch programs in the Alle-Kiski Valley are intended to feed struggling residents.
Many start serving meals this week. The bulk of these efforts are government-sponsored, targeting communities where there's a need.
Last year, the U.S. Agriculture Department spent about $350 million on its Summer Food Service Program, which provides free meals and snacks to youth during the summer months in low-income communities. The USDA provided more than 132 million meals last summer, according to its website.
The USDA works with the state Education Department to administer the program in Pennsylvania. In turn, the Education Department works with county agencies and various nonprofits to serve meals locally.
In Allegheny County, one of the sponsored sites is at Riverview Memorial Park in Tarentum.
"We try to promote it as much as we can," Tarentum Borough Manager Bill Rossey said about the program, which serves from 50 to 75 youths on an average day.
"This makes a whole lot of difference for these children," said Lynda Black, the county's program coordinator. "In many cases, it might be the only meal a child gets that day."Additional Information:
Summer food programs
There are numerous sites across the Alle-Kiski Valley serving a free breakfast, lunch or both. The following is a partial list of those sites funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to information available last week. Some programs continue to add sites.
These locations serve meals Monday through Friday.
Harrison -- Natrona ballfield: Lunch, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Sheldon Park: Breakfast, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Lunch, noon to 2 p.m.
Indiana Township -- Emmerling Park: Lunch, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Tarentum -- Riverview Memorial Park: Lunch, noon to 2 p.m.
Verona -- Verona United Presbyterian Church: Breakfast, 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.; Lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
For more information, visit here or call 1-800-851-3838.
With the exception of the Verona site, the others begin Monday and run through Aug. 20. The Verona site opens June 21.
Apollo -- Smart Start Education Center.
Ford City -- Seventh Avenue and Boulder parks.
Kittanning -- St. John's Lutheran Church.
Leechburg -- First United Methodist Church.
Parks -- North Vandergrift Playground.
Call 1-800-405-6252 for lunch times and additional information.
Sites will open June 21 and close Aug. 13.
Information on local programs wasn't available.
New Kensington -- East Kensington Manor: Breakfast, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.; Lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; Salvation Army: Breakfast, 9:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.; Lunch, 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
Vandergrift -- Salvation Army: Lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Call 724-468-8660 for more information or visit here.
Sites will open Monday and close Aug. 6.
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