On June 13 and July 25, PEC employees volunteered with the Kids Summer Lunch Program at the First United Methodist Church in Johnson City to feed local youths and their families, serving 80 people total.
The church has been feeding the Johnson City community free of charge for six years, but this year in particular became challenging when there was a volunteer shortage.
“They were having a difficult time finding volunteers, and I saw an opportunity for PEC to make a positive impact,” PEC Media Relations Specialist Caroline Tinsley said. “This opportunity played hand-in-hand with the Hill Country Community Cupboard, which continues the spirit of nourishing our community together.”
Counties in Central Texas experience food insecurity (meaning individuals might not know when they will have their next meal) at rates 2 percent higher than the national average, and nearly one in four children in Central Texas goes hungry on any given day. Many of these children have reduced or free lunches at school, but they are at higher risk of missing meals during the summer.
“It breaks my heart that so many children don’t have access to three meals a day, especially during the summer months,” PEC Internal Communications Specialist Ruth Verette said.
“Cooking and serving this lunch was a simple task, and it reminded me of the importance of making time to be of service to others.”
George Barnette, Kids Summer Lunch program coordinator, said he is overwhelmed by the generosity of PEC and other organizations to keep Johnson City youth well fed. He’s in high hopes that their program will be able to feed even more children next summer.
“Volunteers are the most precious thing about this program,” Barnette said. “The more we have, the better, and they allow us to be able to bless this community with a nutritious meal. The work they do is irreplaceable.”