According to The Portland Tribune, "In Oregon, 53 percent of all children rely on free or reduced price breakfasts or lunches during the school year. But only 21 percent of those eat free meals during the summer..." What happens to the rest during this time of year?
Nine summers ago Sonrise Church was presented the opportunity to serve Hillsboro's school children a free lunch, no strings attached. After jumping at the idea, The Outpost, a weekday summer activity program, has grown exponentially. This summer, The Outpost is in two Hillsboro parks (Shute and Shadywood), and provides more activities and meals than ever before.
Each weekday from 10:30am to 1:30pm, The Outpost provides a free nutritious meal to up to 400 Hillsboro school children. Beyond the amazing free food service, there are daily crafts, sports, and reading areas that provide fun outdoor entertainment. On "Water Wednesdays" the kids enjoy slip and slides, water balloons, and much more water fun in the summer heat. "Science Thursdays" are another new specialty day, showing just how far The Outpost has expanded.
All of The Outpost's service could not be done without the collaboration of many community partners. Various Hillsboro government organizations, companies like Frontier Communications and Intel, and of course many churches volunteer their time and resources. This type of collaboration should be celebrated each year, as it continues to highlight the fantastic ways these types of entities can work together.