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Sack lunch program kicks off

June 14, 2019
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Traer Star-Clipper

The first Traer Sack Lunch program date on June 11 brought 28 local children to Taylor park to pick up a healthy, balanced meal, according to Jenn Payne and a group of volunteers who helped start the program.

"Overall it went pretty smoothly," Payne said. "We had 36 sign up for our first date. I had 3 volunteers to help make the lunches and Shellie [Morrison] helped me deliver.

According to No Kid Hungry, a national non-profit campaign, millions of kids across the country rely on schools for regulars meals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates more than 12 million in the US live in "food insecure homes", which means families do not have enough food to feed every family member to lead a healthy lifestyle. To address this issue in the North Tama area, each lunch through this program consists of a sandwich, a fruit, a healthy fun snack (granola bars, fruit snacks, etc), string cheese and a juice box. Lunches are being made at the Sunrise Hill Care and Rehab Center then delivered to Taylor Park on Tuesday and Thursdays at noon. The program will be fully licensed by the Iowa Health Department and will be required to follow certain procedures. The program has a Facebook page available so people can tell Payne how many lunches they need for their kids each week. The first week the items are being donated by Sunrise Hill Care and Rehab Center.

Article Photos

Jenn Payne and Shellie Morrison with the prepared sack lunches in Taylor Park.

"Most of the kids seemed excited," Payne said. " About a dozen of them sat at the picnic tables and ate their lunch right away so that was nice to see.We definitely need a time frame posted earlier to get the kids there quickly and will remind people a day sooner to get them up there."

Since launching the Facebook page, Payne stated the program has received $600 in donations from community members. A fundraiser will be scheduled at a later date also.

To sign up for the sack lunch program, families are asked to go to the "Traer Summer Sack Lunch Program" Facebook page or call/text Payne at 319-429-6451 or Kris Whitmore if they are uncomfortable posting in the comments. The groups hopes for this coming Tuesday is to get enough kids to come to continue this program throughout the summer.

"We would love to see more kids signed up for this," Payne said. " I cannot stress enough this is not related to anyone's financial situation or status. I think that is holding some people back. Bring your kids, enjoy a picnic in the park with them while you're waiting for the pool to open."

For more information about the Traer Sack Lunch Program, contact Payne at 319-429-6451 or Kris Whitmore.



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