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MASON CITY, IA - Mason City now joins the list of towns that will be providing healthy meals for young people throughout the summer.
The summer feeding program for youth ages 1-18, gives an option to those looking for free and reduced meals during the season.
“I think that a lot of children home alone during the summer and over their noon hour. They aren’t gonna get a good meal or a decent meal and I think it’s just a valuable thing to do for the community,” said Letha Markwardt, volunteer with Wesley United Methodist Church
Churches in the River City will each take turns in hosting and volunteering their time.
Program directors say it’s an important community function that will give for those in need.
“It bridges the gap from the school year to summer. Some of these kids, the best meal they get is the meal that we serve them. So we’re trying to fill that need, get them at least one good meal and we’re serving lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Maybe things that their families would not necessarily buy when the budget is tight,” said Lora Jenson, Program Director.
Lora handles food and nutrition for Mason City and Clear Lake schools and says families are all invited to take part in this lunch program.
Pam Hardy of Mason City brings her great-niece and nephew here when she can.
She says she knows how valuable it can be to give healthy options for children in the community.
“It’s an outreach. I know these kids would get a meal. I would prepare it at home, but they get a wider variety. It’s available. There’s no question about who is available, how old you are. They don’t take any information. Come and Eat. Come and enjoy a meal with your neighborhood,” said Hardy.
Similar programs do exist in areas of Minnesota. The program in Mason City will continue Monday through Friday until August 16th.
Children and families are all encouraged to come and enjoy a meal with others in their communities.