Operation Sandwich Combats Summer Childhood Hunger
Cuyuna Regional Medical Center staff partnered with Operation Sandwich and the United Way today to pack and deliver lunches across Brainerd.
Operation Sandwich is a grassroots program that was started by the United Way six years ago aiming to end child hunger in the Crow Wing County area. The program takes place in the summer when free and reduced lunches are not accessible at school. Before starting the program, founders had heard many stories from teachers of students facing hunger in the summer months.
“She walked into her classroom and she’s hit with this kind of stench in her classroom, so she’s following her nose and it brings her to a desk and these are the ones that open, and so in the corner tucked in is just a bundle of bananas that are rotting. Later, she asked the kid why there are bananas in his desk, and he said that he was trying to save them for summer so he had something to eat,” said Jessie Ernster, Operation Sandwich Assistant Coordinator.
CRMC got involved after helping out with a similar program in the Crosby-Ironton area. Volunteers packed the lunches at Bethlehem Lutheran Church and then delivered them to various location across Brainerd. The program has been hugely successful and reached a milestone today by handing out its 9,000th lunch in Kiwanis Park.
“CRMC has been doing this program over in the Crosby-Ironton School District for a number of years. Obviously, we do have a presence in the Brainerd/Baxter area, so the United Way came to us and they were looking for some sponsorship help, and we thought it was a great opportunity to expand that into the Brainerd/Baxter area as well,” explained Kyle Bauer, CEO of Cuyuna Regional Medical Center.
More than 150 lunches were packed and delivered today throughout the Brainerd area.