Benavi Eisenberg, 6, knelt in his chair, his right arm stretched high and fingers wiggling, hoping to be called upon.
A frequent visitor to the District’s Juanita E. Thornton/Shepherd Park Library, Benavi was participating in the free hands-on Science in the Summer program. On this Thursday, seven students were dropping objects into a mixture of oil, water and soap to test the objects’ densities. His zeal for books and this particular class were fueled with a chicken Caesar salad, apple slices, graham crackers and milk.
“I’ve read a lot so far,” Benavi said. “I like to read books about outer space.”
What Benavi was enjoying — reading and educational programs, coupled with a free lunch — is exactly what city officials hope will happen more than 11,500 times this summer. The D.C. Public Library Foundation, D.C. Public Library, D.C. Hunger Solutions and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) are sponsoring free meals at 11 public libraries this summer to encourage reading. There are nearly 350 such meal sites participating in this summer’s meal program across the city.