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Local

Feeding the need: New program already delivers hundreds of meals in Lee County

Greg Langeler pours coffee for Tony Lopez of Dixon on Thursday at the Living Well Church of the Nazarene, during one of the Fighting Hunger Feeding Wellness meals. The new program distributes food to people faced with food insecurity.
Greg Langeler pours coffee for Tony Lopez of Dixon on Thursday at the Living Well Church of the Nazarene, during one of the Fighting Hunger Feeding Wellness meals. The new program distributes food to people faced with food insecurity.

DIXON – Hundreds of meals have gone to community members in need through a partnership between KSB Hospital and Living Well Church of the Nazarene, and the service doesn't stop at food.

Fighting Hunger Feeding Wellness is a program that began a month ago where extra food from the hospital cafeteria is packaged, taken to the church at 116 E. First St. and distributed to individuals and families faced with food insecurity, not having access to regular or nutritious meals.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays in January, 615 meals were prepared, 119 meals were served on site, and Living Well Church made sure the remainder were delivered to those in need.

"Not a single meal has gone to waste," said Linda Setchell, director of KSB's dietary department, which spearheaded the initiative with the nursing department.

A family faced with the hardship of not knowing where their next meal is coming from now has access to four meals a day. KSB realized their situation through the program and was able to connect them with additional services, Setchell said.

They came to the hospital cafeteria and thanked the "angels" looking out for them.

"It made such an impact on their life, and it means so much that they're not going hungry," Setchell said.

The program is running smoothly with its army of volunteers, and the number of meals vary from day to day, but 75 is their average.

"This particular program has tons and tons of support," she said. "I think it shows the tremendous spirit that KSB has, and the church, with support for each other and the community."

KSB employees dedicated 43 hours of volunteer work packing the meals, providing educational materials and doing blood pressure checks, KSB Community Wellness Coordinator Grace Crowe said, and the program would not be possible without the time and devotion of those with the church.

People can pick up the dinners from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and either take them home or eat at the church, no questions asked.

The program came about in an effort to curb food insecurity in the area, which affects nearly 13 percent of the Lee County and 21.5 percent of its children. Of those children, 30 percent aren't eligible for food assistance programs such as SNAP or WIC.

MORE INFO

Call KSB Hospital at 815-288-5531, go to ksbhospital.com or find it on Facebook, or call Living Well Church at 815-973-5981, go to livingwellchurch.org to volunteer or for more information.

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