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Fort Scott summer lunch program expands - KOAM TV 7

Fort Scott summer lunch program expands

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Organizers of a summer lunch program in Fort Scott, Kansas revamp their operation in order to feed more kids.

Six local churches and the Beacon Food Pantry coordinated the program, which is in it's third year.

Due to a growing need they decided to make some changes.

Those changes involved reaching out for more city-wide support which is now helping to reach twice as  many kids.

Kenli and Kaeda Coleman burn their energy on the playground during summer break.  To refuel they walk to the First Presbyterian Church and pick up a free meal.

The Coleman sisters live with their grandmother, who is on a fixed income.  They usually receive lunch assistance when school is in session.

"I think it's really good," says Kenli Coleman.

"They serve them everyday because we don't have school any more," says Kaeda Coleman.

"We're trying to fill that need, especially with the economy being the way it is right now," says Grace Hardwick of the First Presbyterian Church.

Kristen Dieudonne's kids also receive lunch assistance when school is in session.  She says summer time help is a lifesaver.

"It really does help us financially, especially with me being out of work now, just helping pay that one meal a day each day really does help a lot," says Dieudonne.

Hardwick took over and revamped the free summer lunch program this year.

"We decided it would actually be easier for the families and we could fill a larger need if we brought the food out to them instead," says Hardwick.

With limited resources the churches rallied other members of the community to jump on board.

Volunteers now deliver the lunches to three different locations and 20 local businesses have donated either time, money, or food.

Marsha Lancaster owns Marsha's Great Plains Deli, and she agreed to provide sandwiches to the kids.

"I think it's a great thing, that way the kids are getting fed every day," says Lancaster.  "They need to be taken care of.  I don't want to see any kids starving."

About 65 children are receiving lunch through this program every day.  That's up from about 20 to 30 who were fed last year and organizers say with the extra help, they now have the resources to feed even more.

"It's amazing the way the community has come together and the way the churches have come together to reach out to these kids," says Hardwick.

There is also a free walk-in lunch provided Monday through Friday at the Buck Run Community Center.

For more information contact Grace Hardwick with First Presbyterian Church - 620-223-3180.

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