Mayor Nancy McNally of Westminster enjoyed lunch with the kids at Sunset Ridge Elementary on July 1. Dressed ready for the holiday weekend, Mayor McNally sported her American flag shirt and received introductions from many excited kids. One little girl even confessed to pretending to be the mayor on a regular basis, using a napkin as her tie. But Mayor McNally did not need a necktie to distinguish herself at the free meal site. She spoke candidly with families about what the summer meal program means to them: nutritious food, structure for their day, and a place where the whole family can come and enjoy a meal together.
With the image of her shirt, I thought of the many American flags that would be proudly displayed throughout the weekend. For some families, there would be fireworks and bar-b-ques, pool parties and watermelon seed-spitting contests. But sitting at lunch with the families, whose parents were offered free meals as well, I was struck by the very American-ness of it all. This was the very expression of what America means to me: A family able to break bread together.
I am so proud of America! Here is place where safety nets exist for children, who are some of the most vulnerable in our society and are at a greater risk of experiencing hunger during the summertime. Jim Rowan, Adams 50 Nutrition Director, spoke of spending hours of his time strategically planning to cover his district with summer meal sites. Having recently relocated from Oregon, this meant driving around the community searching for parks where kids play, neighborhoods and communities in need, and school sites that could partner with other programs. What he created were 8 sites, up from 4 the previous year, and partnerships with Hyland Hills Rec Center and camps.
Thanks to Board of Education President Dr. Marilyn Flachman and Interim Superintendent Dr. Pamela Swanson for being at the site visit and showing their support. And a big shout out to Metro Mayors Caucus for engaging civic leaders in the Summer Food Service Program!
Happy Fourth of July!
Check out this article highlighting the visit.