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Iola summer meal program on wheels fuels kids too - KOAM TV 7

Iola summer meal program on wheels fuels kids too

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IOLA, KANSAS -

Providing meals to kids in the summertime. especially nutrition they might not be getting otherwise, is a priority in most towns. Many southeast Kansas communities have meal programs in the summer where kids age 0 to 18 can come and eat, free of charge. But Iola Schools (USD #257) wanted to take it a step farther and reach those kids that maybe cannot make it into the common mealtime spot.

The answer came on wheels. MARV (meals and reading vehicle) will be traveling between Iola, Gas and LaHarpe this summer, providing breakfast, brunch and lunch to kids.

"This helps us to get food to other kids in other areas of our school district that we could not otherwise get to," USD 257 nutrition and wellness coordinator Kathy Koehn said.

The three low-income towns are just miles apart, but with kids home by themselves or with a babysitter not old enough to drive, can't make it into the schools and churches that serve summer meals. So MARV will be stopping at pool and parks to feed kids this summer.

"Everybody needs good nutritious meals and so I think this is a good way to reach a lot of our kids, we're just able to reach more sites with MARV," Koehn said.

MARV truly is a community project. The bus itself is legally out of commission by Kansas law because it is older than 25 years. So, Iola High School vo-tech students gutted the bus and added eight dinette tables with bus seats as well as bookshelves for the reading component. Art students painted the outside with fruits and vegetables with faces.


"Knowing that kids are going to have food in their tummies and they're going to be reached, it's a wonderful thing," Terry Taylor said, a grandparent of children in Iola schools.

MARV will be on the road starting June 1.

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