The first set of weekend meals went home with 250 students on Friday, September 13.
"The numbers are always down at the beginning of the [school] year," said program coordinator Judy Beiler.
Beiler helps organize the Solanco Food Bank's SWEEP program.
SWEEP, the acronym for Solanco Week End Eating Program, got it start in January 2010 when the food bank began providing weekend meals for 20 Quarryville Elementary students. In the years that followed, the program expanded to all four of Solanco's elementary schools, sixth graders in the district's two middle schools, and students at Penn Manor's Martic Elementary School. It averages 290 meals a week.
The program is available to any student who is eligible for the free lunch program. "It's offered, but parents have to sign up through their children's guidance counselors," Beiler said.
Each student receives two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners, and two snacks, all in single-serving portions. The students are given three days' worth of meals for holiday weekends.
Beiler makes up the menu early in the week.
"I use what we have [at the food bank]. I don't give the same items every week," she said.
Some items on the SWEEP menu are donated specifically for that program. Other menu items are taken from the non-profit's regular stocks.
Volunteers pack the meals on Friday mornings and then deliver them to the schools.
"We have a mix of people who help," Beiler said. "There are parents, church groups, and students in the high school's special needs class."