Food drive, meals in season

As one food drive winds down, a program that provides thousands of free meals to Nashua children is cranking up for the summer.

The 2009 Summer Food Drive, organized by both city hospitals and the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce, will end Saturday with a final donation event from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Market Basket at 212 Lowell Road in Hudson.

But children who need food will still have a place to get a meal.

Southern New Hampshire Services and Nashua Housing Authority are inviting residents to the 11 Street Apartments playground today to learn about their Summer Food Service Program.

The food service program, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has replaced school lunches for hundreds of Nashua children for the past five summers, according to Kathleen Devlin, SNHS’ community health and nutrition services director.

The program serves lunch at Bronstein Apartments, the Crown Hill Pool and the Tot Lot on Salem Street and serves dinner at the David Deane Skate Park on Bridge Street, the Major Drive Apartments, Los Amigos Park and the 11th Street Apartments, according to the SNHS’ Web site.

Last year, the program served more than 16,000 meals between the end of one school year and the start of the other, Devlin said.

The 2009 Summer Food Drive, sponsored by Southern New Hampshire Medical Center, St. Josephs Hospital and the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce, has been collecting nonperishable foods and personal hygiene products to restock food pantries in the city, according to a release from organizers.

The donated items will go to the Upper Room, Main Street Methodist Church, Nashua Salvation Army, the Tolles Street Mission and Nashua Pastoral Care Center, among others, according to the release.

Organizers are asking for more donations at Saturday’s wrap-up celebration, the release said.

Drop-off sites include both hospitals, all of their affiliates and the Chamber of Commerce, according to the release.