14almshouseAnother school year ended for Cumberland County this past Friday, and that was cause for concern for Delores Schiebe and the folks at the ALMSHOUSE in Hope Mills. “We have no contact with the children after that,’’ said Schiebe, referring to the regular ALMSHOUSE house program of providing free meals to those in the community in need while school is open.

Just three days after school closed this year, the ALMSHOUSE began a new program that will help solve the problem of making sure hungry people, especially children, can get a meal at lunchtime while school is out. The ALMSHOUSE will provide free bag lunches Monday through Friday during the summer months for anyone in need. People just need to come by the ALMSHOUSE headquarters on Ellison Street off Trade Street in downtown Hope Mills to pick up the lunch.

Plans for the bag lunches aren’t final, but what Schiebe said the ALMSHOUSE hopes to provide is something basic, including a bottle of water, a sandwich, a bag of chips and a piece of fruit.

“There was a time in the past when we had been able to do a lunchtime meal every day of the week, but we had to eliminate that,’’ Schiebe said. “We are very concerned because there are people needing meals at lunchtime and we’re very concerned about the children when they are going to be out of school.’’

Once the summer bag lunch program is ready to begin, Schiebe said a notice will be posted on the door of the ALMSHOUSE building on Ellison Street. “Anyone who needs a meal can come by and get that meal from us,’’ she said.

It’s possible the lunches could begin before mid-June if the details get worked out, but for now Schiebe said that will remain the target date for starting.

One thing that will keep the program running during the summer months will be regular donations from the public of sandwich items like bread and various types of meat and cheese, as well as fresh fruit like apples, bananas, oranges and tangerines.

Schiebe said the sandwiches will be prepared in advance as much as possible, and they can store them for a time in refrigerators and freezers at ALMSHOUSE. “We’ll do the sandwiches in advance so we can put them in sealed containers, Ziploc bags,’’ she said. “We won’t put mayonnaise or mustard on them. They’ll receive little packs of that.’’

If anyone would like to inquire about specific donations needed to help with the summer bag lunches program, they can call the ALMSHOUSE at 910-425-0902, or contact Grilley Mitchell via email at grillmitch@gmail.com.

“One of our main concerns is the children,’’ Schiebe said. “We want to take care of adults as well. But we’re unable to get to children now that school is out, and we want to be able to do that.’’

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