Kids Kupboard RV brings meals to mobile sites in Matanuska-Susitna Borough
Kids Kupboard, a non-profit in The Valley that focuses on feeding kids, is expanding its reach this summer. They'll be using an RV to bring more meals to sites in Houston and Willow.
Outside the Willow Library, 10-year-old Orion Jenkins takes a break from playing on the computer to enjoy a meal he gave “five stars.”
“I think they’re very good and I think more people should come to them,” he said.
Kids Kupboard has more than two dozen established locations at community centers and Boys and Girls Clubs where staff serve a balanced lunch. The mobile sites mean people like Laci Mattingley, who lives in Willow, now have an easier time grabbing lunch for their kids.
“Last year we would drive down to the park in Wasilla and just whenever we happened to be there at the right time, we’d stop and get lunch,” Mattingley said. “The first time I tried it I thought you had to sign up for it, but then someone said no, you can just go.”
Her two boys, Hatcher and Atigun—named after Alaska passes—ate ham and cheese sandwiches before running off some energy on the playground behind the library.
Chris Haugom drives the mobile rig around and wants parents to know everyone is welcome.
“We’re just catering to kids. You know, regardless of where you come from, what your background is, we’re here for the kids,” he said.
The mission of feeding kids is one that hits home for Lynette Ortolano, the nonprofit's executive director; she knows what it’s like to go without.
“I had a younger sister who was chronically ill and so between medical bills and hospital bills, there just was never enough at our house and I went to school hungry my entire school career,” she said.
Over the past ten years, Kids Kupboard has served thousands of meals to any kid who wants one. Ortolano wants the get the word out about the mobile site and encourages people to stop by.
“We don’t check income, we don’t have them sign papers. They just show up and they’re able to have access to fresh healthy meals," she said. "It’s so vital for kids. They need that nutritional foundation to succeed and grow and hopefully stay off of the path of poverty."
For a complete schedule, visit Kids Kupboard's Facebook page.
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