MIAMI — A donation of $6,500 from the Ottawa County United Way will help the Salvation Army summer lunch program going.

“With them coming in and helping, we will be able to finish out this month, because we still have another month to go,” said Salvation Army director Sondra Fletcher.

The Salvation Army, one of the United Way’s agencies, had only enough money remaining to provide for another week — and there are still five-plus weeks until school starts here.

“One of our board members had seen online that they may not be able to complete the summer lunch program,” United Way executive director Gina Womack said. “We talked to the board of directors, and we had some extra funds from the past couple of years, so we felt like this was a worthy cause.”

Fletcher said the brown bag program, which provides a sandwich, fruit, popcorn, applesauce or pudding cups and a snack, costs between $500 and $900 a week.

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are served twice a week and ham and cheese or turkey and cheese are served the other days.

Fletcher said the program has served 3,000 lunches since the start of summer.

“When you have that many kids in need of food, you’ve got to follow through and be there for them,” Fletcher said.

That number is up from the summer of 2016, the first year for the lunch program.

“Last year it was 50 at most, but this year, we have doubled if not more,” Fletcher said. “It’s a wonderful program. This year, even the neighborhood kids have started coming in. We’ve got to know them a little bit.”

None of the items are donated.

Fletcher said the biggest expense is fresh fruit.

“We try to stock up, but that’s still not enough,” she said. “You never know how many you are going to have.”

Sandwiches are assembled in the kitchen of First United Methodist Church then transported to the Salvation Army building located at 217 West Steve Owens Blvd.

“It is for the kids,” Womack said. “During the school year, they are at least fed breakfast and lunch and then get a backpack for the weekends. This is a good program. We are very happy to be able to help them out.”

How to Donate

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 or organization can donate and the program's 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.