Summer meal program a ?go? for USD 408 children

? Program will operate from May 25 to July 31.

There is such a thing as a free lunch after all?at least for the children of USD 408 starting in late May.

The city of Marion, along with other businesses and organizations, lent enough support to start a federal summer meals program.

City Administrator Roger Holter said he?s excited to see the community support the program.

?Marion will provide free meals, which will meet federal nutrition guidelines, and are provided to all children 18 years and under at Marion Elementary School,? he said.

?Gene Winkler (former city councilor and MCTV Channel 20 programmer) has the food delivery arranged from the Kansas Food Bank,? he said. ?They are going to start with a couple of weeks supply, just to make sure we are ready, regardless of the number of participants.?

In addition, Holter said Winkler arranged to have afternoon snacks available for any child ach day at 3 p.m. at the Marion Sports and Aquatic Center.

USD 408 Superintendent Lee Leiker and the school board are making the elementary cafeteria available to serve the lunches, Holter said.

All but one week of volunteers are in place to serve the lunches, but Holter said he is confident that people will step up.

In addition to the local community support in serving the lunches, all the fresh fruit has been provided.

The Kiwanis Club agreed to serve as the clearinghouse for donations of money for fresh-fruit sponsors, he said.

?Checks or cash should be given to Gene or any of the officers of Kiwanis,? Holter said.

Along with lunches, the program will include swimming at the aquatic center.

?Right now, the process for the swim program is that in Week 1 (May 28) will be designated as Pool Party Day,? Holter said.

Holter said news of the program will be communicated directly to students and parents in early April to allow for summer planning.

At this point, Holter said, organizers are having flyers distributed in class, and will market via social media sites operated by the city and school districts, along with Eagle Channel 20 and in newspapers.

Sponsors include the Kiwanis Club, Marion city employees, Central National Bank, Marion County, 20th Century Club, USD 408, Ty Zeiner, Case & Son Insurance, Todd Heitschmidt, St. Luke Hospital, Presbyterian Church and Christian Church. The program begins May 25 and will continue through July 31.

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