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State Honoree

Isabel Brennan

Yarmouth, Maine

Isabel Brennan, 18, of Yarmouth, Maine, a senior at Yarmouth High School, has been a leader in a local program that provides a nutritious breakfast and lunch, as well as supervised activities on summer weekdays, for kids whose families may not be able to afford three meals a day. When Isabel was a freshman, a friend told her about Lunch Crunch, a program designed to ensure that children who get free or subsidized meals at school don’t go hungry during the summer. After signing on as a volunteer that first summer, “I quickly fell in love with the program,” she said, noting that its participants come overwhelmingly from immigrant and low-income families in a relatively affluent city. “Lunch Crunch is more than just community service,” she said. “It creates relationships and support systems between different groups of people in a town that does not often recognize these differences.”

In her role as a Lunch Crunch leader, Isabel meets with adult leaders in the community prior to the start of the summer to coordinate and plan the program schedule. She and the person in charge of the district’s food services design a daily menu that is both nutritious and cost-effective. Once the half-day program begins for the summer, Isabel picks up the food and brings it to the playground where the camp is held, coordinates that day’s student volunteers as they play with and mentor the younger children, and helps with games, crafts and other activities. Each summer, between 25 and 30 children attend the camp, said Isabel. “Not only is every child fed both breakfast and lunch every day of the summer,” said Isabel, “but relationships and memories are created for everyone that will be unforgettable.”