MARK KLAAS, Kent Reporter                                 State Rep. Debra Entenman, D-Covington, right, presents the No Kid Hungry’s 2019 Summer Meals Hero award to Kent School District’s Lynne Mayer during an impromptu ceremony Thursday at Lake Meridian Park.

MARK KLAAS, Kent Reporter State Rep. Debra Entenman, D-Covington, right, presents the No Kid Hungry’s 2019 Summer Meals Hero award to Kent School District’s Lynne Mayer during an impromptu ceremony Thursday at Lake Meridian Park.

A Summer Meals Hero

Kent School District supervisor is one of five people to earn national award

As children scrambled to play on a sunny afternoon at Lake Meridian Park, Lynne Mayer stood by her lunch-time servers huddled under a picnic shelter.

For many energetic kids in Kent, the spacious park is not only a great place to run, jump, climb and swim, it’s also a convenient hub to grab some nutritious grub.

Mayer makes sure of that. As the Summer Meals supervisor for the Kent School District, Mayer has been fiercely dedicated to ending summer hunger since she began the daunting task more than 10 years ago.

“We’re just happy to be involved in our community, involved in our kids … to be the best that they can be,” she said.

For being at her best, Mayer has been recognized as a local champion.

No Kid Hungry, a national anti-hunger campaign, has chosen the Covington woman as one of five 2019 Summer Meals Heroes.

“It was a big surprise. I had no idea,” said Mayer, who has worked in the Kent School District for 29 years. “We’ve come a long way, but we have a long way to go. Our goal is to do the best that we can for the kids in Kent … make sure they have good nutrition and do everything we can to provide fresh and nutritious meals.”

Contest winners included individuals from school districts and organizations throughout the country who were nominated by members of their local community. No Kid Hungry Summer Heroes are those who have gone above and beyond to find innovative ways to make summer meals accessible and fun for kids living with hunger.

State Rep. Debra Entenman, D-Covington, along with program partners and Kent school officials, joined Mayer for an impromptu award ceremony Thursday at the park.

In 2016, Mayer noticed a large group of kids playing at Lake Meridian Park and reached out to the city of Kent Parks and Recreation Department to develop a strategy to offer Summer Meals. She has since expanded service at the park by offering hands-on enrichment activities, in addition to meals.

Lake Meridian Park is one of the largest summer meal sites in the program.

“Lynne is passionate about serving her community and doesn’t say no when a need is identified,” said Sara Seelmeyer, food security coordinator for the United Way of King County. “She thinks strategically and aims to meet families where they are, in order to ensure that every child in Kent is able to access Summer Meals.”

The Kent School District serves nearly 15,000 low-income students in King County, where nearly 1 in 6 kids face hunger.

Summer can be the hungriest time of year for many children from low-income families, program coordinators said. When schools close, students no longer get school meals, and families struggle to put food on the table. Summer hunger can have a long-term impact on a child’s health, ability to learn and general well-being. No Kid Hungry and its partners focus on connecting kids to the national Summer Meals program as a critical way to end childhood hunger, program leaders said.

“Reaching kids during the summer months can be a tough nut to crack, but I’m so inspired by the innovative work happening in communities all across the country,” said No Kid Hungry Senior Vice President Lisa Davis. “Thanks to everyday heroes like the passionate folks we’re celebrating today, many more kids will return to school this fall well-nourished and ready to learn.”

Free nutritious meals are available for children and teens 18-years-old and younger at select locations throughout the Kent School District each summer. From early July to late August. Staff serve free meals at local schools, apartment complexes, city parks and other locations.

The Summer Meals program is provided in partnership between Kent School District Nutrition Services, Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Learn more at kent.k12.wa.us/summermeals


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@covingtonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.covingtonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

A Summer Meals Hero

More in News

file photo
Department of Health announces QR code verification program to prove vaccination status

WA Verify is intended to make vaccine verification simpler and more efficient.

Mid-afternoon traffic on northbound Interstate 5 on Nov. 22 near Everett. Dan Bates/The Herald
Thanksgiving traffic forecast is heavier than pre-pandemic

Drivers and ferry riders could be in for long waits, depending on when they go.

Patti Cole-Trindall
King County Executive appoints Patti Cole-Tindall as interim sheriff

Cole-Tindall has a background in the sheriff’s office and county government.

Comparison map between current district map and proposed draft. (Screenshot from King County’s website)
King County proposes redistricting map, asks for feedback from public

Public invited to comment at November 30 public hearing.

Homeless encampment in a wooded area in Auburn on Aug. 27, 2021. Photo by Henry Stewart-Wood/Sound Publishing
What the history of homelessness in our region can teach us about our current crisis

A talk with the author of “Skid Road: On the Frontier of Health and Homelessness in an American City.”

The Washington State Redistricting Commission held a public meeting over Zoom on Monday night to draw the final legislative and congressional district boundaries. Most of the five-hour session was spent in "caucus meetings" which were unavailable to the viewing public. (Washington State Redistricting Commission)
Bipartisan commission fails to draw new political boundaries

For the first time in state history, the Supreme Court will define new congressional and legislative districts.

file photo
One-car collision on I-5 near Southcenter kills two 19-year-olds

According to the incident report, neither the passenger or driver were wearing seatbelts.

Geographic dispersion of Washington State Patrol commissioned personnel who lost their jobs Oct. 18. (Washington State Patrol)
Rather than get vaccine, nearly 1,900 state workers lose jobs

Exactly how many people will be out of work for ignoring Gov.… Continue reading

Most Read