Thumbs up: To the Mankato Area Public Schools free summer meals program.
Hunger doesn’t take a summer break for students. That’s why the schools are participating in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s summer food service program weekdays through the end of August.
The program offers breakfast and lunch at Hoover Elementary in North Mankato and Kennedy Elementary in Mankato.
The meals are for anyone under 18. No questions are asked and no registration is required. School officials know there are significant numbers of kids in the district who come from families where money — and food — are stretched thin.
Having nutritious meals available for those who need them outside of the normal school year is a valuable program for the community.
Moondogs deserve two kudos
Two thumbs up: With an eight-game winning streak by Friday morning, the Mankato MoonDogs are having a great summer. And just this week, Perfect Game’s summer collegiate baseball rankings put the ’Dogs in seventh place nationwide with its 15-5 record.
Teams are ranked on their won-loss record, league dominance, depth and quality of professional-level talent and the overall strength of the league.
The second thumb is for Moondogs donating three dollars from every ticket sold for last Thursday’s game with the Duluth Huskies to the Duluth chapter of the Red Cross in helping with disaster aid.
The effort raised $1,700. The ranking and civic mindedness are good reasons to head out to Franklin Rogers Park and see some great collegiate baseball and good, clean family fun.
Wheelchair playground effort will boost fun
Thumbs up: To organizers of an effort that helped construct a wheelchair and handicapped-friendly playground in the Wings Over White Oak neighborhood.
Families with special needs children now have a nice playground to call their own and they can play with their siblings and friends in a place that accommodates all.
The project was a joint effort between the city of Mankato and volunteers and the Mankato Area Concerns of Special Needs and Public Servants, or SNAPS. The city found a deal on some playground equipment that suits handicapped children and the SNAPS group figured out how to fundraise to help pay for the $66,000 in equipment. SNAPS has agreed to raise a total of $41,000 and the city has kicked in $25,000.
SNAPS will raise the money in part with today’s Bend of the River Smoke Off at Buster’s Bar in Mankato. The event starts at 1 p.m. and features 30 talented cooks smoking 8 pounds of pork in different seasonings. Attendees can sample the meats and vote for the People’s Choice winner. The event also offers craft beer tasting, a raffle and a bean bag tournament.
All involved deserve credit for bringing the great amenity to families of children with special needs. The event gives the entire Mankato region an opportunity to join in the support of this worthy project.
Community Read a big success
We would like to thank everyone who made our first North Mankato Community Read such a success.
More than 360 free copies of Walter Lord’s Titanic classic, “A Night to Remember,” were distributed by local businesses.
Community members didn’t stop at reading the book. Each of our Community Read events, including a book discussion, documentary screening and presentation on why the Titanic really sank, was well-attended and filled with enthusiastic discussion.
We are already in the process of selecting next year’s book and invite even more participants to join in and discover how reading can connect an entire community.
Thanks to our local area partners for their financial support.
Beth Christensen, Lucy Lowry
North Mankato Community Read Committee