Rep. Suzan DelBene talks with local parents about what they think of the Summer Meals program that aims to help hungry children. Kailan Manandic/staff Photo

Rep. Suzan DelBene talks with local parents about what they think of the Summer Meals program that aims to help hungry children. Kailan Manandic/staff Photo

Rep. Suzan DelBene helps feed Kingsgate kids

DelBene handed out free lunches at the Kingsgate Library Summer Meals program.

Rep. Suzan DelBene (WA-01) recently joined YMCA to pass out free lunches to children of low-income families at the Kingsgate Library in Kirkland.

The Summer Meals Program runs during 50 days in the summer, giving free lunch to as many as 60 children each day. The meals are for children who are on free or reduced lunches during the school year, but don’t have that option during summer break.

“Kids need balanced meals every day,” DelBene said. “I came to see how the program [is going] and what parents like and dislike about the program.”

Any child can show up for a free lunch and participate in arts and crafts activities that YMCA and library staff host. Library staff said they leave the program open to everyone so parents don’t have to worry about sticking out or being stigmatized. Staff added that they’ve received positive feedback from parents about the program.

DelBene handed out lunches, talked to parents and gave out some free book during the free lunch event on Aug. 15. She has also volunteered for Summer Meals programs at Wagner Elementary in Monroe, Juanita View Apartments in Kirkland and the Snohomish Aquatic Center during her time in Congress.

“As a legislator, we need to understand what works and what we need to change in the community,” DelBene said. “The best way for me to know that is to go out and listen to the community.”

DelBene also handed out granola bars as a snack for parents to eat while their children have lunch and read.

About one in five children regularly go hungry in Western Washington, according to Food Lifeline and 43 percent of Washington students receive free or reduced price meals through the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program.

The Kingsgate Library Summer Meals program helps about 850 kids every summer, giving them a free lunch and book. Throughout the state, summer meals programs have helped feed nearly 50,000 children.

The program runs Monday through Friday each week of summer, except on Sept. 3, which is Labor Day.

DelBene has showed support in Congress for feeding children as she cosponsored the Stop Child Summer Hunger Act. Additionally, during the 2014 Farm Bill, she helped Washington state receive almost $90,000 in grants to help better connect school cafeterias with local farmers and growers.

“It’s great to see everyone here,” DelBene said. “Kids who get free lunch at school don’t get that throughout the summer, even though they may need it.”

Rep. Suzan DelBene helps local kids pick out one of their free books that they receive along with a free lunch through the Kingsgate Library Summer Meals program. Kailan Manandic/staff Photo

Rep. Suzan DelBene helps local kids pick out one of their free books that they receive along with a free lunch through the Kingsgate Library Summer Meals program. Kailan Manandic/staff Photo

Rep. Suzan DelBene hands out granola bars as a snack for parents who brought their children to the Kingsgate Library Summer Meals program. Kailan Manandic/staff Photo

Rep. Suzan DelBene hands out granola bars as a snack for parents who brought their children to the Kingsgate Library Summer Meals program. Kailan Manandic/staff Photo

More than a dozen children came and went during Rep. Suzan DelBene’s visit to the Kingsgate Library Summer Meals program. Kailan Manandic/staff Photo

More than a dozen children came and went during Rep. Suzan DelBene’s visit to the Kingsgate Library Summer Meals program. Kailan Manandic/staff Photo

More in Life

Kenmore native patrols seas from the air for U.S. Navy

Thomas Logan joined the U.S. Navy after attending a college career fair.

Image courtesy of Maria Anderson
                                A flier for the Dine-n-Dialogueevent.
UW Bothell’s Dine-N-Dialogue event to celebrate veterans

The event is being put on by the Social Justice Organizers group.

Bothell nonprofit needs sponsors for adopt a family program

Babies of Homelessness hopes to deliver toys to more than 300 families this holiday.

HNTB employees help clean up North Creek Forest

The team removed a dumpster full of unwanted plant material in less than two and a half hours.

The Kenmore Heritage Society will be hosting a pop up museum Oct. 20 1-3 p.m. Photo courtesy of Suzanne Greathouse
Kenmore pops up with history

Kenmore Heritage Society will host its first pop-up museum Oct. 20.

‘He did so much for everybody’: Remembering Bothell firefighter Kirk Robinson

Robinson, remembered by loved ones as a selfless and genuinely kind person, died on Oct. 4.

The haunting of Hell House continues

Inside the sequel to “The Bothell Hell House: Poltergeist of Washington State.”

Bothell Kenmore chamber holiday dinner and auction fundraiser set for Nov. 8

The annual event is the chamber’s largest fundraiser of the year.

Fall back into a healthier you

A monthly column by an Eastside naturopathic doctor.

Wilson to speak at Bothell Kenmore chamber meeting on Oct. 24

The meeting will be at the Northshore Senior Center auditorium.

Beer festival coming to Bothell Oct. 19

Tickets include six tastings and a tasting glass.