All throughout our nation, faith leaders and churches provide programs and services that shape communities and transform lives for generations to come. The FE Coalition and our members are dedicated to the ministry of advancing Hispanic student achievement. For one faith-based organization in Texas, the work of advancing student achievement continues forward even when the school-year ends.

What’s for Lunch? is the summer initiative of Literacy ConneXus that assists churches in providing access to books for children participating in a summer meals program. In the summer, students in general are at risk of losing between one to three months’ worth of school-year learning, a phenomenon which is often referred to as “summer slide” or “summer brain drain.” For at-risk children or students from marginalized communities, the summer reading slide can be overcome by reading six books during the summer.

Through Literacy ConneXus’mobile library, many churches provide access to books for meal sites for ten or more weeks. In Abilene, TX, where the program has had much success, they are preparing to assist fourteen locations in Abilene that will operate as meal sites for three weeks between the end of summer school and the start of the fall semester. Literacy ConneXus has received generous grants from the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation, the C.I.O.S. (Christ is our Salvation) Foundation, and the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation as well as from individual donors for the purchase of books and support of programming.

How can your church get involved with something like this?

Look for a Summer Meals sign near your home or church. Ask the director, “Is anyone providing access to books for children who eat here?” If not, there’s your invitation.

If you would like more information on What’s for Lunch and Literacy ConneXus, please reach out to our dear friend, Dr. Lester Meriwether, Executive Director of Literacy ConneXus at

The summer is not over, and neither is our collective work of advancing Hispanic student achievement! Be sure to sign up your church for Education Sunday this September.

Forward and higher in Christ,

Rev. Girien R. Salazar
Executive Director, FE Coalition