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.