Residents aim to feed hungry kids
MILFORD – Most children look forward to weekends, but weekends aren’t much fun if there’s not enough food.
Schoolchildren from needy families in Milford can eat breakfast and lunch at school under the national free and reduced-price lunch program, but that doesn’t help get them through Friday night, Saturday and Sunday.
A small group of Milford residents decided last spring to take on the challenge of providing weekend food for the 27 Milford elementary and middle school children whose family situation makes them eligible for free lunch.
They formed a chapter of the all-volunteer End 68 Hours of Hunger program. Most of the local volunteers are members of the Stetson family, including Frank Stetson, his wife, Kathy, and their grandchildren, and they now comprise a nonprofit charity.
Last April they began purchasing food from BJ’s Wholesale Club in Nashua, bagging it and delivering packages to three Milford schools each Friday morning. Each package is intended to provide one child with two breakfasts, two lunches and three dinners, to feed them between the free lunch they receive on Friday and the free breakfast Monday morning.
Vincent Anfuso, of the Universal Kenpo Federation, stores the food at his Elm Street studio.
Frank and Kathy Stetson decided to get involved last winter after they stopped to chat with a volunteer from the Nashua End 68 Hours organization which was trying to raise money in front of Walmart in Amherst.
"Kathy and I helped pack at their Nashua facility one evening, and we decided to contact the Milford schools to see if there was a need here," Frank said in an email.
The End 68 Hours of Hunger program started in New Hampshire in 2011 and has spread to towns in Maine, Massachusetts, Ohio, California and Florida, according to its website.
The Milford chapter is asking local businesses to help them buy the food for this school year, which they expect will cost $14,000.