Raytown lunch program running out of money - KCTV5

Raytown lunch program running out of money

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Hundreds of Raytown children are in danger of going hungry in the weeks ahead.

Raytown Christian Church, along with dozens of other area churches, offers a six-week free lunch program between summer school and the start of the fall semester.

The church says it's serving hundreds of extra meals each day, and if that continues, the money and the food will soon be gone.

"It's a mixed blessing that the lunch program has been so popular," said Reverend Joe Weaks of Raytown Christian Church. "We planned for 600 meals a day, and we served 815 lunches on Wednesday. We will run out of funds if we continue to serve that number."

Weaks said the program is designed to provide lunches to low-income children.

"For most of the kids, who range in age from 1 to 18, this is their main meal of the day," Weaks said.

The potential shortfall is troubling to all those involved, including volunteer Carol Mesimer.

"Children should not go hungry, ever. You should have seen the little girls who spread a blanket and had a little picnic together today. What if there had been no lunches?" Mesimer asked.

Raytown Summer Lunch Ministries was launched five years ago. Weaks said it started small, targeting a couple of local apartment complexes. He said there was a real need, so the church packed lunches and delivered them to kids from the back of their van. Since then, the word has spread and the need hasn't lessened.

"There's a large percent of kids who are in free or reduced lunch programs, and for many of those households, that's the primary square meal that the child gets every day. So, after summer school, there's this gap and a real need that's been seen by the growth of the program every year," Weaks shared. "There are kids who really appreciate having this lunch."

Weaks said each church involved in the Summer Lunch Ministries adopts a neighborhood, an apartment complex, or even a street corner in areas that have need.

"We pack everything together as a community, then we take those lunches out to the various sites, and pass the lunches out of the backs of church buses and church vans," Weaks said.

What will happen if the supplies run out and the lunch deliveries stop? That's the question Weaks is asking himself these days. He said at the rate they're serving the lunches now, the money and food will run out before the end of the fifth week, leaving the program more than a week short, and hundreds of children hungry.

"We have so many stories of parents calling us and telling us how significant this has been for them. Every year, so many people calling us, sending notes, stopping by, and telling us how meaningful this has been for their kids," Weaks shared.

If you'd like to help, go to www.raytownsummerlunch.info, or call Raytown Christian Church at 816-353-1708

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