Norwood kids have the opportunity to receive free lunches this summer, thanks to the Lone Cone Library, Telluride Foundation, Clark’s Market of Norwood and the FRESH Food Hub. Lunches are free to all children up to 18 years of age. They must be reserved by email through the library in advance.

Library director Carrie Andrew said April Montgomery of the Telluride Foundation has worked on her organization’s project the Local Food Initiative for the last few years. That initiative seeks to build the local food economy, and support local producers and the area’s nutritional needs. Montgomery wanted to fill the gap left by summer after kids stopped receiving free lunches from the school when it closed in May.

The library will distribute kids’ lunches, along with library books if families want those, too.

Andrew said library officials will distribute 20 lunches, but that number will be expanded if the need is greater.

Clark’s Market of Norwood and the FRESH Food Hub are helping supply the meals, which are available five days a week.

“We all wanted to provide for families still in need. COVID-19 has hit, and it’s not necessarily a normal summer,” Andrew said. “Parents may be out of work. This pandemic has lasted longer than maybe anticipated, and perhaps we are seeing an increase of cases. We want to do our part to provide this.”

Families interested in getting a free lunch for their kids should email staff@loneconelibrary.org. There is no need to share income or establish qualification. No library card is required to receive a lunch.

A menu of the weekly lunches can be found on the library’s Facebook page. Andrew said Jennifer Conway, a local dietician, helped create the menu with kids’ nutritional needs in mind.

Lunches are available outside of the library, curbside, at 11 a.m. Library staff will distribute them, using safety precautions.

Andrew said the library is also working on a new software program that could make the reservation system even more efficient, which could be ready this week.

Lunches will be available free of charge until school starts again in August.

The cost of the food in the free lunch program, along with advertising, is covered by the Telluride Foundation. The library is paying for the staff to work during the distribution time.

Andrew said she’s happy to have the opportunity to give kids lunch and reading material as well. She said the possibility exists for the delivery of meals too, if that service was needed. Anyone who needed a delivery should inquire about the option in their request. 

Additionally, the library is working on its ability to be open to the public. Andrew is working with public health director Grace Franklin on the timing of the reopening, which could be as early as mid-July.

“We are working with the county on scenarios,” she told The Norwood Post on Monday.

At the same time, the library now needs a circulation assistant to work part-time, and subs are also needed to fill in for various library jobs. Anyone interested should contact Andrew at carrie@loneconelibrary.org.