Organizations in Lee County meet regional food needs, high school students volunteer

Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 10:09 PM CST
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KEOKUK (WGEM) - Organizations in Lee County are giving back to their community by providing food to those in need.

The Salvation Army started the Weekend Food for Kids program in 2019, providing food to Keokuk students in need.

The Crossing church joined the team later that year.

Since then, organizers said the need for food in Lee County has only grown, and so has their reach in the community.

Keokuk Salvation Army and The Crossing are partnering with Keokuk High School’s leadership class to provide Weekend Food for Kids.

Captain Linda Faye Jones with the Salvation Army, said the program started by providing food to only Keokuk students, but has grown as needs have.

“We are now currently through every main school district in Lee County, so we serve the Fort Madison schools and we have just recently, in February of this year, brought in Central Lee,” Jones said.

Jones said the need for food in Lee County doesn’t stop in Keokuk.

“Statistically, as of last Fall, we were still, Lee County, was still the fourth highest food insecure county in Iowa,” Jones said.

The Crossing joined the team when the number of children signing up for the program grew.

Weekend Food for Kids currently provides food bags to about 1,422 Lee County students a week, so campus Pastor AJ Fuhrman said Keokuk High School’s youth leadership team was utilized as helping hands.

“Our students do an incredible job, they’re hard workers, they’re very dedicated, very consistent, and they do an incredible job ,” Fuhrman said.

The students who volunteer are able to get class credit and community service hours by helping assemble food bags to distribute once a week.

Senior Mia James is working toward getting an honors cord at graduation and she said Weekend Food for Kids is allowing her to meet the 400-hour community service requirement easier.

“I actually really enjoy it,” said James. “I think it’s a good way to help out the community.”

Jones said every student in Lee County School Districts gets a Weekend Food for Kids sign up form when they register for school.

She said the program is not income based, so any Lee County family can sign up.

She said if you do not receive a weekly food bag, but would like to, just reach out to your school’s administration or the Keokuk Salvation Army.

Jones said, the weekly food bags include snacks from the Keokuk Hy-Vee.

National grants and local donations pay for them.

If you’d like to volunteer with the program or donate food or money, contact the Keokuk Salvation Army.

Their number is (319) 524-1144.

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