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NEML and NECC help feed the soul

The Millerton News Editorial

We all know our local libraries are some pretty magical places. Same goes for our community centers, in the towns and villages where we are lucky enough to have such organizations.

The residents and business people who live and work in the close-knit dual community of Millerton and North East, nestled in the upper region of northeastern Dutchess County, should count themselves among the fortunate. That’s because they not only have access to the NorthEast-Millerton Library (NEML) at 75 Main St., run by the enchanting Rhiannon Leo-Jameson, library director extraordinaire, known to those close to her as “Rhi.” They also have at their fingertips the North East Community Center (NECC), with its main building located at 51 South Center St., led by the savvy and superlative Christine Sergent, its executive director.

These two agencies are essential to the health and vitality of the village and the town, and are integral ingredients to the glue that holds much of the Harlem Valley together.

For years they have individually and jointly organized and hosted countless events and programs to better the quality of life for those in both their immediate community and throughout the greater Harlem Valley region. They’ve done so cooperatively and seamlessly, for which we are extremely grateful. They have joined forces to do so once again this summer, as they have for many summers past, to help feed hungry children. That’s right, the NECC Free Meals for Children and Teens Summer Lunch Box program has returned, and is running now through Friday, Aug. 12, from noon to 1 p.m.

While registration is not required it is encouraged; go to www.nemillertonlibrary.org to register or for more details. Call 518-789-3340 with additional questions.

The program is for all children and teens 18 years old or younger, and provides a healthy lunch at the library on Main Street through much of the summer.

It does so in concert with NECC knowing that many of the children who attend the North East (Webutuck) Central School District — which has one of the highest poverty levels among all of the school districts in Dutchess County — can’t access the free breakfasts and lunches they get in school during the summertime.

The library added that while the Lunch Box program takes place, it offers its own programs to help educate and entertain children. When registering online, parents may opt for their kids to participate. Some of the offerings are listed below:

• Lunch and Learn with Bee Bee the Clown: July 11, 18, 22 and Aug. 1, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

• Sing, Play, Read! Outdoor Storytime and Playgroup: Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to noon (lunch will be served after the program).

• Lunchtime Game Space (indoor and outdoor games and activities for children and teens): Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m.

• Lunchtime Lego League: Thursdays from noon to 1 p.m.

Online the library noted while it’s closed Mondays, it will still serve lunch on July 18 and 25, and Aug. 1 and 8.

Coupled together, the NEML and NECC are two incredible resources among so many that exist in our region. In addition to this vital program, they also offer resources for families who need nutritional support. To learn more acquiring free groceries through their joint efforts, go to the library’s website listed above, go to www.neccmillerton.org or call NECC at 518-789-4259.

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