by Mary Johns

The Beach Bar is launching the “Food for Thought”, a campaign to raise funds for Columbia School District’s lunch program.

Over 31 million students in the U.S. rely on free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program. Through the program, free meals are available to families who make under $31,500 for a household of four, while reduced-price lunches are available to families who make just below $45,000 for a family of four. Still, there are children coming to school with no lunch, snack or their parents are behind on paying their child’s lunch account.

In 2016, the School Nutrition Association published a review of almost 1,000 school lunch programs, finding that nearly 75 percent of districts had unpaid meal debt, despite the dramatic expansion of free and reduced lunch programs.

It’s hard to learn on an empty stomach, hence the name “Food for Thought”.  As a company in the food business, we at the Beach Bar understand the importance of good nourishment.  We are taking donations for Columbia Schools to help with past due lunch accounts and to help students that may just need a little help.

We challenge all area restaurants and businesses to take up the cause and make a donation.  There has been a GoFundMe page set up, beachbarfoodforthought. Donations can be made on this page or at the Beach Bar.

Checks can be written to the individual school, please note in memo “Lunch”. Addresses are listed below:

Columbia Elementary School (PK-2), 320 School St, Brooklyn, MI 49230 

 Columbia Upper Elementary School (3-6), 321 School St., Brooklyn, MI 49230

 Columbia Central Jr. Sr. High School, 11775  Hewitt Rd, Brooklyn, MI 49230

Mary adds these comments:

“The Beach Bar staff every year at Christmas pitches in and we do a charitable donation. We in past years have raised money for the Brooklyn Pantry, collected toys for Salvation Army, donated Christmas gifts to the elderly and filled wish list for children from the Angle tree at Country Market.  

“What I have learned is there is federal assistance, so some children are covered 100% others are at a reduced rate of coverage and other families may just be a little over the financial guidelines to receive any assistance, but it does mean they don’t need help. I was told about one child came to school with just a applesauce cup for lunch and that type of situation is a daily occurrence. They (Columbia School District) do offer a sandwich for kids that are not sent with a meal, but maybe this will give them the option to offer a little more. 

“I am pretty excited about this. Growing up, food was never an issue in our home. My Grandparent’s owned a restaurant and my dad had a party store. It’s heart breaking to think there are children not getting enough to eat. As stated in the letter I sent, it is hard to learn on an empty stomach, hence the campaign name “Food for Thought”.  We live in such a great community of caring people. I am sure we all can make a difference.