Murray Woman Making Weekend Meals for Hungry ChildrenMar 09, 2016 01:31PM ● By Bryan Scott
By Natalie Mollinet | [email protected]
Murray - Imagine being a kid who didn’t have anything to eat for the weekend, waiting from Friday’s lunch at school to Monday’s lunch. Many kids in the Salt Lake Valley face that every weekend, but one woman in Murray is making small sacrifices but big changes for kids involved with the Boys and Girls Club.
Lynda Brown has been a Murray resident for 43 years, worked as an RN and then was a president of her own successful business before becoming a Dun and Bradstreet seminar facilitator. She is a huge supporter of the Boys and Girls Club. She started the program Kids Eat Utah when she overheard staff at the Boys and Girls Club talking about kids stealing food out of their pantry. That’s when she thought to herself, “Why were kids stealing if they weren’t hungry?”
Brown was already providing after- school snacks for kids in the Murray Club, and she felt like this was one more thing she could do.
“It was an easy place for us to start. The kids were already making known they were hungry,” she said. “I’ve always felt my role was to be a caregiver, and I find myself at this point that not only do I have the time but I have the energy and motivation to do this. There are children in our neighborhood and your backyard. Why would I not feed them? These children are our future leaders.”
Brown’s program provides packs of food to the Boys and Girls Club. She doesn’t know who the children are. All the children that get the food are chosen by the teachers and counselors at the Boys and Girls Club who know who needs the food.
One family that her program has donated to is a family that has been part of the Boys and Girls club for a couple years. The mother passed away several years ago, and the father was raising all four children all under the age of 10.
The father did all that he could to support his family, but he struggled to find the money for food.
“Luckily we were able to feed these kids breakfast, lunch and dinner at the club every day, but when the club is closed and over holidays, it’s very hard for them. Once when I was talking to the little girl she told me that her daddy doesn’t eat food, because he’s a grown-up and food is just for his kids. They usually only have cereal to eat at home,” Jaime Dunn, the director of the Child Care Center at the Boys and Girls club, said.
Kids Eat Utah was able to give the family a turkey for Thanksgiving -- the youngest boy had never had a turkey on Thanksgiving before.
The food packets that come to the children are all done in the basement at Brown’s house. She is currently meeting with the Murray School District and said there could be some space she can use above the Boys and Girls Club to expand the efforts.
“There are probably more children that we can be feeding. We’re looking to grow,” she said.
Many may be thinking that there’s plenty of food at the Food Bank and the LDS Church bishops’ storehouses, but many working families have too much pride to take charity from these food banks. Brown said that these places may have plenty of food, but she knows that the children are hungry.
“It’s a hidden problem; most of the people in that situation have too much pride,” she said.
Brown explained that we have a community of the working poor. Even though Utah’s unemployment rate is very low, sitting at 3.3 percent, 74 percent of people in Utah that require extra food are employed.
In 2014 a study noted that in Utah one out of every five children is without food, and Salt Lake City was ranked number eight in the nation for kids at most risk for hunger. Those statistics are what really pushed Brown to get down to business and help the kids that she can in her neighborhood.
As summer months come closer, many children will need more help. If you’d like to donate or help, you can find out information at kidseatutah.org.