Bread & Broth 4 Kids Summer Program begins in South Lake Tahoe today | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Bread & Broth 4 Kids Summer Program begins in South Lake Tahoe today

Bread & Broth 4 Kids Summer Program distributes meals for food-insecure children each Wednesday from June 20 through August 22.

Thanks to Bread & Broth, thousands of food-insecure children will receive free meals this summer.

The nonprofit's Bread & Broth 4 Kids branch launched its multi-month program last year, providing children with food and nutrition throughout the summer — and it returns today, June 20.

Every Wednesday through Aug. 22 children of all ages have the opportunity to visit one of three distribution stations (or one of the satellite locations at select childcare centers) and fill up a bag with food items such as fresh fruit, cereal, milk, canned meat, nutrition bars and much more.

"The summer program is for kids that don't go to facilities for free lunch or breakfast. It's somewhere they get to come and pick their foods for the week and fill their tummies and get nourishment," said Bread & Broth volunteer Christy Slocum.

In its 10-week debut last summer, the Bread & Broth 4 Kids Summer Program served 1,156 bags of food to children throughout the South Lake Tahoe community despite its last-minute launch. This year, the nonprofit's volunteers expect — and hope — to reach and serve more children because they know what to expect and had more time to plan.

"Our goal is to double [the number served]," added Cheryl Breitwieser, the lead for the Bread & Broth 4 Kids Summer Program. "We're a lot more organized, the facilities we worked with last year are willing to help again this year, and children also know about the program from last year."

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"We're way ahead of the game this time because we threw it together in a month last year. This year we know what we're doing and started earlier. We have more bags at the beginning to hand out and know where these children were from last year," added Slocum. "We're very pleased to get this started with more kids being [served] this year."

Apart from filling up a bag of food for the upcoming week, children who attend one of the Wednesday distributions also receive a surprise snack — anything from cupcakes to cookies — to enjoy on-site.

"The food is organized out on tables above the steps of Grace Hall, and [the kids] come and we give them a bag … they walk around the little area and after they fill up their bag they get a snack," Slocum noted.

Bread & Broth 4 Kids Summer Program launched thanks to a donation from Rob Katz, CEO of Vail Resorts, and his wife, Elana Amsterdam. The contribution was not only enough to begin the program, but continue it at least through the 2018 summer season. According to Brandy Thomson — the community connections manager for Heavenly Mountain Resort, Northstar California Resort and Kirkwood Resort — it's expected to sustain the program for a few summers.

Aside from the donation, Vail Resorts also provides two to four people to volunteer with Bread & Broth 4 Kids every Wednesday. Vail employees also help pack, distribute and deliver food throughout the summer program's duration.

"We appreciate the partnership with Bread & Broth. We feel like they're a great nonprofit in the area that helps so many, and kids are one of our main focuses. It makes me so happy to be able to volunteer, and it makes everyone in the company happy to know we can provide this for the kids," Thomson said.

The partnership between Vail Resorts and Bread & Broth has been a fruitful one for the South Shore community.

"On a weekly basis kids are being fed," said Breitwieser. "There's a lot of families here on this mountain that just don't have that — they don't have fresh fruit or fresh milk that we get."

She continued: "The kids, the teachers, the community are starting to recognize us. We're making a difference with this program we're involved in, and we're making a difference in the lives of these children."

Where to go

Bread & Broth 4 Kids has three distribution stations set up every Wednesday: St. Theresa’s Church (Grace Hall), located at 1041 Lyons Ave., is open from 9 a.m. through noon; Tahoe Valley Elementary School, found at 943 Tahoe Island Drive, is open 9:30-10:30 a.m.; Bijou Community School, at 3501 Spruce Ave., is open 11 a.m. through noon.

Food bags will also be available at Apple Seeds Academy, Boys & Girls Club, Child Development Center, Choices for Children, Under the Magic Pine Tree, Foster Family and Live Violence Free.

Visit http://www.breadandbroth.org/bb-4-kids-summer-program for more information.