Joshua Project needs summer lunch volunteers
By Jim Poole
The Joshua Project is looking for volunteers to help with its summer lunch program that feeds hundreds of kids when school’s out.
Noting that summer lunches are resuming after being cancelled by the pandemic in 2020, Joshua President Pat Costello made the call for volunteers at the organization’s meeting last Tuesday in Middleburgh.
The faith-based Joshua Project offers summer lunches in Cobleskill, Middleburgh, Central Bridge and Richmondville, and Mr. Costello has confirmed all sites except Cobleskill. He’s confident Cobleskill will be a go.
Although all four sites could use more help, the need is most acute in Middleburgh, Mr. Costello said.
“We’re looking for volunteers and someone who could take a leadership position” in Middleburgh, he said.
“We’re looking for a new team of committed individuals.”
The Joshua Project needs five or six people for Cobleskill and Middleburgh and three or four for Richmondville and Central Bridge.
Hours are 11am-1:30pm Monday-Friday, no cooking is required, and people can volunteer whenever available––either days or weeks.
Experienced volunteers will be on hand to help newcomers.
“It is a wonderful, rewarding experience,” Mr. Costello said.
Leaders who formerly directed the Middleburgh program can’t do so this summer but are available to help newcomers.
A leader or leaders would keep track of the food inventory and make sure there are enough volunteers daily to serve families.
The summer lunch program feeds children who depend on school breakfasts and lunches when school’s in session. In 2019, the most recent summer, the Joshua Project served 8,000 lunches at the four sites.
Mr. Costello met with the Schoharie County Health Department to discuss resuming the summer lunch program after the pandemic, “and they see no reason why we can’t start again,” he said.
But there will be safety protocols. Only volunteers can handle the food, and they must wear masks and gloves. Also, the room can be filled to only 75 percent capacity.
“But things are changing all the time,” Mr. Costello said, noting that protocols become less strict as more people are vaccinated.
“By the end of June, we may be open more, and that will make our lives easier.”
Nonetheless, there’s a need for volunteers if the four sites can proceed.
“I’m very optimistic we’ll be up and running at all four sites,” Mr. Costello said.
Anyone interested in volunteering––especially in Middleburgh––should call 518-937-2422 or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.