BOZEMAN — For the last twelve years, the HRDC in Bozeman has been providing free meals to children during the summer months. What began in a handful of parks, has now spread across the town, and soon Belgrade.
Lyra Leigh-Nedbor is the childhood nutrition coordinator for the HRDC, and specifically works in the nutrition department for the Kid’s Summer Lunch Program. Leigh-Nedbor has seen firsthand the increase of demand over her eight years with the HRDC.
“When I started in 2013, we were doing about four meal sites and doing maybe about 200 meals per day. We were then doing pretty steady, and we grew over past three years, so 500 meals are likely on the high end of what we’ve served,” Leigh-Nedbor said.
Since 2013 the program has spread to different meal sites, allowing the program to be more accessible to a greater number of people, Leigh-Nedbor said. With the help of volunteers, more meals can be produced in a shorter amount of time, as well as distributed to a multitude of different areas.
“We are really fortunate with our volunteers…I think COVID kind of inspired people to get out and volunteer. We have probably about 100 people… on average that come out and volunteer over the summer,” Leigh-Nedbor said.
In the past, the HRDC had the lunch program in the neighboring city of Belgrade, and will now make a return with their new food truck. ‘The Mighty Spork’, will take to the road soon to deliver meals to different parks in the Belgrade area, Leigh-Nedbor said.