A benefit dance will be held at Dena’s Lobster House, 765 Roosevelt Trail in Windham on Sunday, February 12th from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Launched by The Village Fund, a RSU14 school wide community lunch program, the monies raised will help students who cannot afford school lunch but also do not qualify for the free/reduced lunch program.
Based upon the concept “It takes a village . . .”, the Fund was established several years ago by a small group of caring individuals who saw the need for students who fell through the cracks of a system meant to help those in need. Teachers, community members and school nutrition employees came together to fill those cracks by giving their time and money.
“We never want to see any student put in a situation where they cannot afford to get a lunch, regardless of the reason,” Marge Govoni, co-chair of The Village Fund, stated. “We have not established The Village Fund to replace the responsibility that the parents have to make sure their child’s lunch account is up to date, but sometimes things happen that is beyond our control. A hungry child does not learn well, no matter the reason.”
“Our school nutrition program is truly dedicated to ending hunger in our community,” Samantha Cowens-Gasbarro, Chef/School Nutrition Coordinator, stated. “This program allows students who are struggling to access healthy food at school.”
Per the Centers for Disease Control, skipping meals is associated with decreased cognitive performance (e.g., alertness, attention, memory, processing of complex visual display, problem solving). The lack of adequate consumption of specific foods, such as fruits, vegetables, or dairy products, is associated with lower grades among students.
“Every child deserves a nutritious meal,” Cowens-Gasbarro added. “This contributes to a child’s academic success. It is important to mention that we are very sensitive to the need of privacy and provide the meals with respect and confidentiality. Additionally, there is a protocol established by The Village Fund, which allows us to make sure the funds are used correctly.”
The DJs, Flamin Raymin & Sizzlin Suzzin, will host the benefit dance. In addition to a fun afternoon of salsa, disco, foxtrot, tango or your favorite party move, dancing lessons will also be provided to those who may be interested. The dance is all inclusive and is for all ages. The cost is a $6 donation fee per person and $20 per family of four or more.
For those who are unable to make the benefit dance and wish to make a contribution to The Village Fund, may do so by sending a check or money order to the: RSU 14 School Nutrition Program with “Village Fund” written in the memo. The check can be mailed to: The Superintendent’s Office, 228 Windham Center Road, Windham, ME 04062.
A special thank you goes to Dena’s Lobster House, Flamin Raymin and Sizzlin Suzzin, as well as to Jeanne Riley, school nutrition director, who is an advocate to ending hunger in our community.