Cleveland Public Library serves free summer meals for kids
CLEVELAND— Cleveland Public Library has 27 locations and all are serving free meals this summer.
The library system is one of many sites across the state participating in the Ohio Summer Food Service Program.
“We’ve been doing this since 2007,” said Annisha Jeffries, youth services manager for the Cleveland Public Library Main Branch.
Jeffries said children between the ages of one and 18 are eligible, with no registration required.
“If a child is hungry, if they want a place to go and have a meal, they can always go to their nearest branch or come to our library,” Jeffries said.
Jeffries said it’s a necessary service that the library is happy to help.
“Children and parents, we want everything [sic], we want them to be stress-free,” she said. “And sometimes when you’re hungry, you know, you don’t think of anything else. You think about food. You’re just thinking about, you know, the stress relief of where the next meal is going to come from.
Meeting the needs of the community is why Rice branch manager Lexy Kmiecik said she pursued the profession.
“It’s a great example of how the library serves the community,” Kmiecik said.
On the menu, at the Rice agency, a simple lunch box.
“They are nothing extraordinary. They’re like sandwiches,” Jeffries said. “It could be peanut butter and jelly, like those Incrustables. There is always, like, a milk, a piece of fruit and vegetables, a sandwich. And most of the sandwiches we have are turkey based. It’s not like pork or anything and we know some people can’t eat that.
For Jeffries, this meal also opens the door for children to experience some of the fun and educational programs offered by his branch.
“It’s not school, but it’s fun. And, you know, that’s what the library is for [and] oh it’s free. Everything is free here,” Jeffries said.
Jeffries said they serve lunch on weekdays, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.