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Kenai library serving up kids lunches through school start

Kenai Community Library

Kids can dig into a good book and a good meal a little longer at the Kenai Community Library.

The library has been distributing lunches since June 1, through a partnership with the Food Bank of Alaska. Anyone 18 and under, or parents of kids, can stop by the library from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and pick up lunch to go or call from the drive-through and someone will bring lunch out to the vehicle.

The program was set to end today but James Adcox, children’s librarian, says it’s been extended until Aug. 21, the last weekday before school starts.

“We asked the Food Bank of Alaska to get permission to do that and they approved that, just to fill a community need. And we felt like the need was there and the need is still there to do it as long as we can until school starts,” Adcox said.

Adcox doesn’t have numbers for August yet but says the library provided lunch to over 350 kids in June and July. And not just PB and J.

“In every meal pack there is a milk and then there’s always some protein and an additional dairy product,” Adcox said. “They had chicken bites and there’s a beef jerky one. There’s a cheese stick with a beef stick. And then there’s always sunflower seeds and some additional, like applesauce. There’s a chicken salad spread with crackers, so a variety of different meals. I think we had 14 different meals that we were distributing.”

In previous years, the Soldotna and Kenai libraries split the duties of distributing lunches but Soldotna wasn’t able to particulate this year so Kenai took over five days a week. Adcox said they’ve needed to have an extra volunteer for the program in past years, since kids had to eat on site. But this year, amid the coronavirus, the meals are just picked up and taken elsewhere.

It’s open to anyone in the central peninsula area and Adcox said they’ve seen a lot of new faces at lunchtime over the summer.

“Everyone is open to this so we’ve had a variety of different folks, some folks that we see as regular patrons for the library, some folks that we have not seen as regular patrons, utilizing this service. This year has been just wonderful feedback in terms of we’re really happy this is being offered this year,” Adcox said.

To ask for curbside lunch pickup, call 283-4378, or just stop by the front desk from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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