Judy Rebich of Wheeling Island is a wife, mother and grandmother.
But every summer, she’s Miss Judy, The Lunch Lady.
She can’t bear to think of any child going hungry.
So thanks to her–and to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on Wheeling Island–no child will have to.
There are no questions asked, no forms, no requirements.
St. Luke’s Summer Lunch Program started 16 years ago.
“They would come to the church door,” recalls Rebich. “They call me Miss Judy. And they’d say, ‘Miss Judy, we have nothing at home.’ And my heart would just melt.”
Now she gets about 48 children a day, and each child can bring two adult family members.
“Some people don’t get food stamps,” said James Miller of Wheeling. “Some people don’t have the services out there that are provided. And this is a good program for the kids.”
Rebich lets the children custom order the food of the day, but she’s always pleased with when they make healthy choices, such as when they want tomatoes and lettuce on their tacos.
There are other summer lunch programs, but they come with limitations.
“The only problem with government funding is they limit you on what you can do,” Rebich explains. “For instance, in those programs, the children can not take anything home. And I had too many babies come to me and say they had nothing at home. So if I have something left over–since we get no government funding and are not bound by their limits–I can send it home with them so they can have something to eat later on.”
Kids are drawn to the book shelves in the corner, and they often end up reading and eating.
“I love Miss Judy’s place and she makes sure I have enough to eat, and I like her,” says Jerm’aniq Edmonds of Wheeling.
“She’s nice,” says Alauna Miller of Wheeling. “I love her. She’s respectful of me.”
Rebich is indeed respectful of everyone–and of their right to have a good meal.
In fact, this year she was honored by the YWCA’s Tribute To Women program, for that very quality.
“I just figure, we’re a church,” notes Rebich. “St. Luke’s has always done a lot of outreach. That’s why we are here.”