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North Liberty group to host free summer lunch program for kids

NORTH LIBERTY– Organizers of a new free lunch program for North Liberty children are seeking volunteers and donations to help support the effort throughout the summer.
The new “Summer Lunch and Fun Program,” sponsored by the North Liberty Unity Coalition, is designed to reach all children up to 18 in need of a free, healthy meal.
The program will be offered 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. weekdays at the North Liberty Community Center June 9 through Aug. 18, excluding the July 4 holiday. Volunteers will prepare and serve a healthy free lunch from 11:30 a.m. until noon, and supervise recreational activities from noon until 1 p.m.
Organizers say about 550 North Liberty children qualify for free or reduced-price lunches at the city’s four elementary schools and junior high.
“We are trying to address the nutritional needs of these children during the summer months, when school-based nutritional programs are not available, though the program is open to all children up to 18,” said Tracey Mulcahey, a Unity Coalition member and North Liberty’s assistant city administrator.
Already, area businesses and residents have donated more than $2,000 toward the estimated $5,000 cost of providing the program. “If just 30 people were to donate $100 in the next few weeks, we will be sure we have enough money to provide the program throughout the summer. If there is money left over, we’ll save it for next summer’s program,” Mulcahey said.
Donations will be used to purchase food and supplies. Volunteers also are needed to help prepare and serve the meals, and to organize the program’s daily recreational activities.
The North Liberty Unity Coalition was organized in 2005. Its mission is to enhance the health and wellbeing of children, families, and neighborhoods in North Liberty by developing and engaging a network of individual and community resources in community-strengthening activities. The coalition now includes about 20 people, representing the city, schools, churches, service groups, the Community Pantry, and North Liberty residents.
“This summer lunch program is a great opportunity for North Liberty to come together and nurture our children,” McRoberts said. “This is a truly caring community, and we know people will support this and pitch in to help.”
Gifts to the lunch program will be tax-deductible. To volunteer, make a donation, or to learn more, visit the program’s website at http://nlsummerlunch.wordpress.com, or contact Mulcahey at tmulcahey@northlibertyiowa.org, 319-626-5712.
To learn more about the Unity Coalition, contact McRoberts at judy.mcroberts@gmail.com.