This summer in Texas more than 200,000 children will receive their best meal of the day through a USDA or other food program.  Providing access to books as well at lunch addresses both intellectual and physical nutrition. Literacy ConneXus wants to partner with your church to do that through What’s for Lunch?  Here are step-by-step instructions:

  1. Contact Literacy ConneXus for assistance with your project: or 817 696-9898. We’ll provide you with a “starter kit” that includes guidance on the following:
  2. Designate a What’s for Lunch? project manager.
  3. Recruit your project team. This could be an adult or teen Sunday school class, children’s department leaders, or a mixed group of volunteers.
  4. Decide how you will amass all of the books needed for your summer project. A church-wide book drive for new and gently used books is an easy way to bring in loads of books.
  5. Once the books are collected, have volunteers examine each one to make sure they are appropriate for children and in good condition. If you would not give it to your own child or grandchild, recycle the book. The books will need to be categorized by grade level, too. Consult the Literacy ConneXus website for assistance.
  6. Follow instructions in the starter kit for identifying potential lunch sites and developing partnerships.
  7. Request t-shirt bags from Literacy ConneXus, or (preferably) recruit church volunteers to make them. Decide when to give them to the lunch site participants. Some programs give them to children at the front end, so they can use them to carry books back and forth in the weeks ahead. Others wait until the end of the program to give kids a t-shirt bagful of books to keep.  A sample t-shirt book bag is included in the starter kit.
  8. Determine how many days a week volunteers will be present at the lunch site to check out books to kids. Consider your number of volunteers and their availability. The more days you can be present, the better, but decide what will work for your team, and then devise a schedule. Follow the risk management protocol of the meals program for all volunteers.
  9. You will need to work with the manager of the meals program for the best way to display the books for the students. Likely, this will involve arranging books by approximate reading level in a way that children can examine them before checking them out. A minimum of two volunteers will be needed to make the books available to the participants and to hear the students report on books read.
  10. Decide what kind of activities to include in your program. An example would be to check out books Mondays and Wednesdays, and offer crafts and read-aloud on Fridays.
  11. Decide how to wrap up your summer program. You could have some games and crafts, and let kids pick out a number of books to keep. Encourage kids to keep reading!
  12. Fill out the “Report Card” in the starter kit  folder with feedback on your What’s for Lunch? experience, and submit to Literacy ConneXus. This is important in helping us improve the project, and in getting grants to help with books for next year.