'The kids appreciate us': Volunteer group in N.B. expands Brown Bag Lunch Program for high school students
SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- A group in Saint John, N.B. that has been making lunches for high school students for the past seven years is once again planning to expand its operation.
The Brown Bag Lunch Program started in 2014 with the East Saint John United Churches. Volunteers say they prepare fresh fruit, vegetables and sandwiches to ensure high school students who need a helping hand aren't going hungry.
"Usually in every lunch, there's a drink box, a sandwich, fresh fruit if we can, and also a granola bar or something of that lot," said Joan Shillington, a program coordinator for the Brown Bag Lunch Program. "Lots of times, there are programs available for elementary students but by the time they reach high school, they may have been receiving them through elementary school, but then it stops."
The program originally started small, with 30 lunches created one day per week. Over the years, the program has expanded.
Today, more than 90 volunteers make 275 brown bag lunches per week – serving five high schools in total.
"The kids appreciate us so much, you know," said Pam Carter, a program buyer. "Some of the kids used to call us the brown bag love... some people came to school just because they knew they would get a lunch."
This fall, the lunch program will be moving to a new location at the Harmony United Church, allowing for the program to expand once again. The group plans to increase their output to 400 brown bag lunches per week once in their new location.
"I approached the uptown high schools to see if there was a need there and there definitely is a need there as well," said Shillington. "Just as with the East Saint John community so, that's why we're doing the expansion."