To help feed children who come from low-income families, and aren’t provided free or reduced lunches by their school during the summer, Connection Christian Church works with the West Texas Food Bank to provide daily meals Monday through Friday to children in need.

“Probably 50 percent or more of our school students are living at the free and reduced lunch level,” Connection Christian Church Co-Pastor Dawn Weaks said. “So our first step to improving our education for these kids is making sure they have proper nutrition.”

The summer food program, funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, provides meals from the food bank across West Texas. West Texas Food Bank Program Director Kelly Dirden said they expect to feed around 800 kids across 19 counties.

Children from anywhere and any income level can get a free meal in Odessa from noon to 1 p.m. at the follow locations beginning June 4:

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of the Permian Basin, 800 E. 13th St.
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of America, 1037 E. Murphy St.
  • La Promesa Apartments, 4590 N. Texas Ave.
  • Third Edition Apartments, 1201 Whitaker Ave.

“Any kid that walks through those doors can eat a meal,” Dirden said.

Those sites were chosen due to their location in low-income areas, where either 50 percent or more of children there receive a reduced or free lunch.

Ellen Noel Art Museum will also be collaborating with the program, and will be at the apartment sites three days a week to do art programming with the children eating there.

Volunteers from Connection Christian Church will be providing the food at the sites, and had their training on the amount and types of food to be served for the program.

“You can’t harden your heart towards hungry kids,” Weaks said.

One of the volunteers, and a member of Weaks’ church, is Penny Boss, who will be volunteering with the program for the third year, the same number of years the program has been active.

“I think it’s a meaningful way to feed the hungry in our community and it’s for children,” Boss said. “It’s an easy way to make a big impact for just a few hours a week.”