Lunch Attendance Down Slightly, While Bus Ridership Increases

United Way of Mahaska County

Oskaloosa, Iowa – The Oskaloosa Summer Lunch program had new leadership this year, but little changed since the program started in 2014.

The program was started as a way to help fight childhood hunger during the summer months when children don’t have a hot meal guaranteed to them like during the school day.

Over 50% of students in Oskaloosa qualified for the free or reduced lunch program. That number qualified the community for the USDA backed summer lunch program.

Amy Meyer with Mahaska County United Way said that the meals wrapped up on August 4th, and summer camps finished up on Friday.

Meyers believes that nearly 7,000 meals were served during the year, which is a slight drop from the approximately 7,500 meals served the previous year. “We’re still really happy at how things went this summer.”

Meyer added, “We were able to continue serving a huge part of the Oskaloosa community, including Beacon and University Park. We’ve received great feedback about the food. I think the kids were really happy. Shayna Bruce, the Summer Lunch director, did a great job taking over for Martha Comfort.”

“We also had a great team with our head cook Liz Tower and lots of very committed interns and volunteers. We were very lucky,” said Meyer.

When it comes to changes to the program in the future, Meyer says, “We haven’t started talking about changes yet, but we’ll be collecting as much info as we can from the different sites and see what changes need to be made. We’re always open to adapting to any new needs or ideas.”

The ‘Oskaloosa Rides’ bus is at a crossroads of sorts, and back in June, Meyer said that the bus program was going to offer free rides until Labor Day to help introduce the service to more people.

Meyer said that ridership had increased this summer with “The Ride’s On Us!” campaign. “The average daily ridership for June was 31 and July was 25. That’s up from about 18 last summer. 10-15 Transit, which runs the service, is considering keeping its service free for the rest of the year. We’re very grateful to the City of Oskaloosa for continuing to support the service. There are a lot of people in the community who depend on it to get to the hospital, the store and to other services around town.”

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Posted by on Aug 19 2017. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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