As the new school year begins, a Lee County organization is making sure kids stay fed over the weekend.
The Salvation Army of Lee County in Keokuk is again starting up its “Weekend Food for Kids.”
Volunteers pack bags with six meals and two snacks and they are handed out to students on Friday during the school year.
Last year organizers say 90 students signed up in the first month, and by the end of the year volunteers handed out meals to 371 students.
They say that number is expected to grow now that kids in the Fort Madison school district are also eligible for the program.
Coordinator Donna Palmeter said the need is there and the impact is life changing.
“Just for people, even ones with people that don’t meet eligibility for certain things, they come in and say, I make too much money, but I am struggling,” Palmeter said. “That happens a lot with parents that are divorced or trying to go back to school. Those were some of the cases we had.”
Linda Faye Jones, Auxiliary Captain for The Salvation Army, said two-thirds of the students in Keokuk are on free or reduced lunch, and teachers in the Fort Madison school district have noticed the issue isn’t going away.
“Last year they did not their spring break in Fort Madison because the teachers were concerned about the children having food,” Captain Jones said. “That is where this comes from. How can we come around them and support them, what gap can we fill to make sure that something is taken care of.”
Organizers say and child can be in the program regardless of their background or how much a parent makes.
The Salvation Army of Lee County said to sign up parents should fill out this form below and take it to their child’s school office.