EDWARDSVILLE — For Serving Area Kids (SAK), a community outreach project providing sack lunches to children during the summer, going to University Flats Mobile Home Park seemed like a natural idea.
SAK decided to come to University Flats, formerly Old Stone Meadows, after talking with Edwardsville School District representatives. The district identified the areas of greatest need, including University Flats in the 2900 block of Sand Road.
“A lot of these kids out here are underprivileged,” park employee Anita Smith said. “These kids like to come out here together as a community and get that lunch.”
Beginning this year, the program started handing out sack lunches at the trailer park from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Each lunch includes a Lunchables, drink, breakfast food item, granola bar, chips or crackers, a dessert and occasionally fresh fruit. All food is prepackaged for health safety.
“We’re privileged to have that out here,” Smith said. “Not everybody gets that, so we do appreciate that.”
Although SAK only began serving University Flats this year, the park’s owner wanted to give back to the organization. The owner, who Smith said believes in helping the community when possible, decided to donate $250 to the group.
According to Sherry Buhrmester, who works with the program, these and other donations help SAK grow.
“People donate either money or non-perishable items,” she said. “This is our fourth year of doing it, and every year we try to expand a little bit more. The first year we had one location. Now we have six.”
Last summer, SAK served more than 5,000 lunches, a number it expects to match this year. The lunches go to children 16 and younger, and the volunteers hand them out with “no questions asked,” Buhrmester said.
“The kids have all been very grateful,” she added. “They’ve been polite. We haven’t had any problems along the way. The parents that come with them are usually very happy that we’re helping them out.”
Because of the success of SAK at University Flats, Smith and Buhrmester both said they hope to continue handing out lunches there in the future.
For information, visit facebook.com/servingareakids.