Gateway Helping Hands is offering children and teens under age 18 free food four days a week this summer in place of school lunches.

The program lasts from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Triplett View Apartments Mondays and Wednesdays, Mountain View Apartments on Thursdays and Clearfield Baptist Church on Fridays.

“It gets to be a great big, happy family,” said Wanda Fultz, the creator of Helping Hands.

All children are welcome at the summer meals, where food must be eaten on site. Parents do not have to be present, and no one must sign up.

There is a choice between five different kinds of Locker Mates, a brand of bagged lunch, including tuna salad, chicken salad and marinara based foods, fruits and milk.

Gateway Helping Hands has helped 356 homeless in the last few months and feeds over 600 kids every weekend with their backpack snack program.

The organization was founded nearly 10 years ago by Fultz.

“My mission was to feed children, so this fits right in our mission to feed children and families,” she said.

Linda Caudill, a volunteer at Gateway Helping Hands, said she has seen the programs improve the lives of many children with food and coats in cold weather.

“It’s a really good program and it helps the kids,” said Caudill.

The summer meals program continues through Aug. 2. For questions, call Gateway Helping Hands at 780-0332.

Daneyl Tackett can be reached at dtackett@themoreheadnews.com or by telephone at 784-4116.