Inflation impacts “Feeding Lunches to Youth” program

Published: Jun. 27, 2022 at 5:52 PM CDT
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MARION, Iowa (KCRG) - Marion has a “FLY” program. It stands for ‘Feeding Lunches to Youth’. As volunteers rely on donations from the city, the county, and local community members, there’s still concern for the future of the program as cost of supplies continue to grow.

FLY volunteer, Linda Hayward has been handing out free lunches to children in Marion for the past 10 summers. She says the program is vital for young people who rely on school-supplied lunches during the academic year.

“It’s a worthwhile program, there’s just no doubt about that. It serves community-wide,” Hayward told TV-9. “I like to come back to the same site so that I can develop a rapport with the same people that come and the kids that come.”

As she continues to build those relationships this summer, she also advocates for the importance of the program, regardless of inflation.

Intern and leader of FLY, Rachel Blue says the only thing they can rely on are the donations from the Marion Methodist church and other community members.

“We just got donated 8,000 paper by this church by the VBS program. The volunteers, the churches, the community in general, they’re always very generous when it comes to this program which we are extremely grateful for especially now that the numbers have gone up,” said Blue.

Over the past 15 years of service, the program serves between 450 and 600 people a day, every Monday through Friday. This year, the average has increased to nearly 650.

“It’s because of food inflation. Food prices are going up and not a lot of families can afford it anymore,” said Blue. “We’re happy to be giving out this food to people, but it’s also a sad situation that we have to give it out to this many kids.”

There’s no immediate concern for this program, but volunteers say they need donations now more than ever.

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