Lunches of Love

Serves Meals To Fill The Gap For Kids During Summer Break

Anastasia, Regzane, LaDecia and Kalyssa Land

Anastasia, Regzane, LaDecia and Kalyssa Land

By Linda K. Eaves –

Most children look forward to summer. The living is easy – no homework, no getting up early to catch the bus for school, long stretches of carefree days. In the Rosenberg-Richmond area, however, many children don’t look forward to the summer because they go hungry.

With the community’s help, Lunches of Love is working hard to end the very real problem of childhood hunger in our community by providing a free, nutritious sack lunch. “We feed approximately 2,500 children every day during extended school holidays, including summer vacation, spring break and Christmas break, and approximately 600 chronically hungry children on the weekends,” said Adriane Gray, creator of Lunches of Love.

Martha Lopez

Martha Lopez

“Lunches of Love started out as a ministry of First United Methodist Church in Rosenberg in 2009 and became its own 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization in 2012. Our target audience is the children who qualify for the state’s Free and Reduced Lunch Program. Children who depend on a nutritious breakfast and lunch each day at school are suddenly left wondering where their next meal is coming from during extended school holidays and during the weekend.”




During the summer, volunteers meet Monday through Friday from 9 am to 11 am to make and pack the childrens’ lunches. “We make sandwiches, bag goldfish crackers, decorate lunch sacks and pack lunches. From 10:45-12:30, our volunteers deliver to pre-determined distribution sites.”

In a Lunches of Love meal, each child receives:

One Main Entrée:  A sandwich either ham, turkey or peanut butter and jelly, or mac and cheese. The volunteers try and give a variety, especially during the 11 weeks of summer.

One Cracker Product:  Such as Goldfish, pretzels, Wheat Thins.

One Fruit Item: Fresh, canned, and dried or yogurt.

One Low-Fat Snack Item: Animal crackers or protein bars.


Maya Gonzales andDenise Hlavaty

Maya Gonzales and
Denise Hlavaty

Many of the children who rely on the Free and Reduced Lunch Program love the consistency of school. They love the fact that they get up, go to school and receive both breakfast and lunch. There is air conditioning at school. The teachers love on them.

While most children get excited for the summer break and school holidays, these children do not. When they get home, they don’t know if they’re going to get a meal, they don’t know if they’re going to have electricity, they don’t have the consistency that they do at school. “So. if you ask our target audience if they’re ready for summertime or Christmas break, they’ll tell you, ‘no.’”

“Last summer was our first summer at Deaf Smith Elementary,” said Gray. “At the beginning of August, I asked one of the little boys, ‘Well, are you ready for school?’ He said, ‘You know what Miss Lunch Lady, last summer I had to make sure that my four younger brothers and sisters got something to eat. Sometimes, I went without. The two older ones would go without, so we could make sure the little ones got something to eat.’”

“Then he added: ‘But you know what? This summer we’re part of Lunches of Love. Now all my brothers and sisters get to eat every day. I wish summer would last a little longer.’”

“The kids love the lunches. They rip open the bags to see what’s inside today’s lunch. Many of the kiddos will pull out a banana or a ‘cutie’ orange and say ‘Cool, I got a banana!’ It’s the little things – like the fresh fruit that they love – all the things we take for granted. Many of our kiddos have told us they would go hungry without their lunch from Lunches of Love.”


Janelle and Jake Williams

Janelle and Jake Williams

Lunches of Love relies on its volunteers. “Our volunteers are the absolute best,” shared Gray. “They’re always here for Lunches of Love and the children we serve. There have been times when we’ve had a few last minute cancellations. I posted on Facebook and within 30 minutes, those spots were filled! The community has really wrapped their arms around Lunches of Love and is dedicated to packing and delivering lunches to children in need.”

The program is very family friendly; all ages are welcome to volunteer. A five-year-old can put juice in a bag or decorate a lunch sack. Parents can bring their kids, and they learn at an early age to give back to the community. “I think it’s very empowering for children of all ages to make a difference. One of my favorite things about the program is to see kids of all ages helping other kids in need.”

“By offering this simple little $0.75 lunch, we’re serving love, hope and a nutritious lunch. By offering unconditional love, we are helping create a kinder, more caring community,” said Gray.

Lunches of Love works hand in hand with Lamar CISD schools. “The principals, assistant principals, counselors, teachers and nurses have really pitched in and help make our registration process flow very smoothly. These staff members also volunteer during the summer. Local businesses, families, individuals, churches and schools have been very supportive of our program.”


Walker Satterwhite and Adriane Gray

Walker Satterwhite and Adriane Gray

During a Sunday School class, Gray and her fellow classmates were discussing prayer in school. “In my group, there were a couple of Lamar CISD teachers. We got a little off topic and started talking about the Free and Reduced Lunch Program. Those teachers started telling stories about how they knew that their kids were eating their breakfast and their lunch at school, but they could tell they didn’t eat at home. There was no food for supper.”

Gray was astounded and thought, “There is no way that we’ve got children going to bed hungry in Rosenberg-Richmond. They told more stories, and their stories got more and more convincing.”

Gray asked the teachers: “If the children are relying on breakfast and free and reduced lunch during the school year, what are they doing in the summer and holiday?” The teachers didn’t know.

Gray forged ahead and did her homework. ”It blew my mind and broke my heart that there are children in our back yard going hungry.” She went over her findings with a couple of friends, and they decided that they had to do something. “We met with a couple of Lamar CISD staff members. Because Bowie Elementary is close to the church and the percentage of Free and Reduced Lunches was high (92%), we met with the principal and counselor. They helped get this program started and passed out registration forms and anything they could do to help the kids; they were all for it. We work with principals, assistant principals and counselors because they know the children who need the program.”

Gray went one step further and spoke to the church about what they could do. “Our church members totally embraced the program the first year with their gifts and time. When our program continued to flourish and grow, we started the paperwork and the process to become a non-profit.”

“To know that this goes on in our own backyard, blows my mind, and it is heart breaking. We have so many children out there who wouldn’t receive a meal if not for Lunches of Love. It makes me want to push even harder, fundraise even more, so we can continue to sustain the program but also continue to bring more children into the program that need us so we can help them as well.”

For more information about Lunches of Love or to volunteer, visit or call 281.342.8321.

Schools Adopted by Lunches of Love

Several Lamar CISD elementary schools have been adopted by Lunches of Love to provide lunches weekend, summer and holidays to children in need. Schools include:

Maegan Carroll

Maegan Carroll

• Bowie Elementary

• Jackson Elementary

• Deaf Smith Elementary

• Jane Long Elementary

• Travis Elementary

• Taylor Ray Elementary

• Meyer Elementary

• Hutchison Elementary

• Velasquez Elementary

• Pink Elementary

“We feed students from the above schools – plus anyone in their household 18 and under,” said Adriane Gray, founder of Lunches of Love. “We have plans to adopt Beasley Elementary this fall. We also host a community picnic and a community Christmas dinner. Our primary focus is the children. We want to make sure that the children are fed. Our program has grown by leaps and bounds, and we are loving every minute of it!”

Lunches of Love’s vision for the future is to sustain their current program while expanding to include additional Title 1 schools. “We are committed to helping end childhood hunger among these innocent children,” said Gray.

 How to Help Lunches Of Love This Summer

School is always in session for Lunches of Love who provides sack lunches to children in need throughout the summer months,

and the organization is hosting some community events this summer to raise much needed funds to feed hungry children. Please visit for information to volunteer, donate or host a food drive or bake sale.

Back-to-School Fashion Show Benefitting Lunches of Love

Saturday, August 17th

Presented by Southern Sister Designs, Another Time Soda Fountain, Imperial Performing Arts, Downtown Studio and A Tropical Haven. For ticket information, call Tracey Satterwhite at 713-261-3877.

10 to 11 am: Brunch at Another Time Soda Fountain. 800 Third Street, Rosenberg.

11 am to Noon: Fashion Show at Imperial Performing Arts Center. 823 3rd Street, Rosenberg.

Gringo’s  Spirit Night

Monday, August 19th

Present the Lunches of Love flyer found on or Facebook to your waiter. Twenty percent of your transaction will be donated to Lunches of Love.

11 am to 9 pm

Brazos Town Center. 24108 Southwest Freeway, Rosenberg.