Gimme A $5 & Lebanon, TN School System
Lebanon Special School District serves approximately 3900 students of which almost 60 percent receive free or reduced lunch. For the last four years, LSSD has been dedicated to make sure our students do not become food insecure when school dismisses for the summer. The system hosts a Summer Food Program with a fleet of two buses and two vans which travel to local neighborhoods and distribute lunch to anyone 18 and under. For the last two summers, Gimme a $5 has supported academic security by providing LSSD students with thousands of FREE books. One of many community stakeholders, Gimme a $5, who employs many parents of LSSD students, is also committed to providing materials for The Neon Remix Mobile STEM Lab, some of which are donated, and some purchased (always for $5 or less!) Students board the STEM Lab and participate in hands on activities that align with Science standards. Because of the many interventions, including those provided by Gimme a $5, LSSD continues to be recognized as an Exemplary School District and has received Level 5 Growth Scores for six years in a row.
So many topics and languages of books are available from the donations from Gimme a $5. This family also participates in Parents as Teachers, Lebanon Special School District’s first program for students age birth to five. One of the owners of Gimme a $5 and his family participated in the program and the importance he saw in that program led to our current partnership to distribute thousands of free books each summer.
During the summer months, the Neon Remix becomes a Mobile Cafe with a library where students can take home free books each day. Last year, Gimme a $5 donated 5000 books to our program. Students brought in another 2000 and we got a total of over 7000 books into the hands of local children. This maintains a healthy summer reading schedule and contributes to the READ 20 Program, which encourages 20 minutes of reading for pleasure each day. This year, in the first three weeks of the summer program, we have already distributed approximately 4000 books.
Each summer, we celebrate the success of the Lebanon Special School District Summer Food Program. Last year, we fed a little over 10,000 lunches between June and July 2018. This year, in the first three weeks, we have already served approximately 9,000 lunches. Anyone 18 and under can enjoy a FREE hot meal at one of our many sites, including Don Fox Park. In addition to FREE lunches, these same students are also getting to choose FREE books and coloring books donated by Gimme a $5.
We are very thankful to community partners such as Gimme a $5 who recognize the importance of reading and learning, and support us throughout the school year. -Beth Petty, LSSD Family Resource Center Director/Community Relations Manager