ROACHDALE -- Each Thursday when the Lunch Bunch meets at the Roachdale Park, they complete some sort of craft project. This week's project, though, was much bigger than normal and will be seen by many.
The group spent part of Thursday morning coloring the banner they will carry in Saturday's SummerFest Parade. The children and adults involved in the program will be bearing the banner featuring the names of "Lunch Bunch and Friends of the Park."
The Lunch Bunch meets every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at the park. The program begins with a craft, followed by lunch at 11:30 a.m. During lunch, program organizer Connie Edwards reads to the children. At day's end, each child is sent home with a free book.
Edwards said she started the program to promote healthy eating and literacy during the summer. She organizes the lunch and reading, while Dianna Gorrell organizes the crafts.
The program is offered free to all children, not just those from Roachdale.
"Every kid is welcome," Edwards said. "It doesn't matter, even if they are from out of county.
The generosity of many people and organizations makes the program possible. Each week, lunch is donated by a different organization. Lunch donors this summer include Friends of the Park, Tri-County Family Medical Clinic, Roachdale Hardware, Senior Puzzle Club at Allen's TV, Roachdale Christian Church, Roachdale Presbyterian Church, Dean and Lisa Miller and Casey's.
Likewise, Edwards said the books all come from donations by Random House and "people of the community leaving them on my porch." Additionally, the Roachdale Town Council allows the program to use the park free of charge.
Besides Edwards and Gorrell, the program also runs because of the help of teenage volunteers such as Henry Cloncs, Tyler Edwards, Matt Malayer, Chelsea Phillips, Vanieca Boler and Angel Reed.
Anyone wishing to see the Lunch Bunch and its banner may see them at the SummerFest Parade at 5 p.m. Saturday.