Early into the Salvation Army's summer lunch program, it's become clear demand will be much higher than last year.

MIAMI – The Ottawa County Salvation Army is issuing a call for help.

Early into its summer lunch program, which provides free bagged lunches to school-aged children in need, it's become clear demand will be much higher than last year.

In May alone, over 500 lunches were served, along with a select number of weekend food backpacks for families in need, and Salvation Army staff and volunteers expect numbers will continue to grow as word spreads.

Last year the Salvation Army provided 1,870 bagged lunches to Miami families.

The summer program serves all youths but is aimed at helping to curb hunger in the Wilson Elementary School area. The local Salvation Army branch adopted the neighborhood because of the school’s proximity to its relatively new building located at 217 West Steve Owens Boulevard in Miami.

Now as the need for their services continues to grow the faith-based nonprofit is asking for the help of local businesses, agencies, and community members.

Funding for Salvation Army’s programs is primarily donation based, and programs are highly dependent on volunteers. Churches and individuals also help by providing donated items and financial support, including appliances and household items.

Monetary donations and volunteers to prep and serve lunches are needed most.

All donations are tax-deductible, and volunteer positions of all types are available.

To learn more about how your business can donate and current needs call 918-542-3467.

To donate by mail, send checks or money orders made payable to Salvation Army c/o Pauline Kleinfelter at 1205 Skyline Drive, Miami, OK, 74354.

Donation items may be brought to the Salvation Army building at 217 West Steve Owens Boulevard during regular operating hours from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday and Thursday.

Bagged lunches are served from 11 a.m. to noon weekdays at the Ottawa County Salvation Army building.

Dorothy Ballard is the managing news editor of the Miami News-Record. Contact her at dballard@miaminewsrecord.com and follow her on Twitter @dm_ballard.