Children in Derry and Londonderry will enjoy nutritious lunches all summer, long after school ends for the year.
The Salvation Army canteen truck will once again roll through the area this summer, offering free lunches to children.
Beginning June 24, the program will offer lunch at various locations while students are on summer break.
This is the fourth year for the program. Locations this year are at the Fairways apartment complex on Forest Ridge Road on Tuesdays; Hood Park lunches are served on Thursdays; and a Londonderry location at Woodland Apartments on South Road is added this year with lunches being served Wednesdays.
The Londonderry schedule begins July 2.
Lunches are served from noon to 1 p.m. and are available for youth ages 18 and under.
Children do not have to live in that particular neighborhood to receive lunches. Any New Hampshire resident is welcome.
The program is served out of the Salvation Army’s emergency canteen, and will take healthy food on the road through the summer.
Last year’s numbers were impressive, Lt. Christopher Williams of the Salvation Army said.
The canteen served almost 1,000 free lunches to children last summer.
The program stems from a need in the community once school is out.
“We know some kids aren’t getting their lunches,” Williams said. “This is for our community.”
Adding the third location in Londonderry will help more children in that town, he said.
Derry school district business administrator Jane Simard said the program is a great way to make sure children continue to have healthy lunch offerings when classes end.
Children receive nutritious meals through school lunch programs, but once school ends, often families don’t have the means to keep healthy meals going.
“We’re thrilled,” she said, “and the kids look forward to this.”
Simard said the summer program fills a need where children may need nutritious meals once school is out for the year. It’s also a great community effort as many school district staff and administrators often volunteer to staff the canteen truck during lunch times.