The Floyd Lewis Foundation (FLF) annually grants each board member $250 in discretionary funds to donate to a cause selected by the board member. Terri Martin serves on the FLF board and is also on the Coffey County Library Board of Directors so she chose to use her discretionary funds to support the Burlington Branch Library’s Summer Lunch Program.
The program began the summer of 2022 when many patrons inquired, “is anyone providing summer lunches?” The staff checked with past free lunch program sources and all had not planned to provide lunches. The library recognized the need, asked for and received donations from the area businesses and patrons and provided 15-25 lunches every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during the summer of 2022. The initial program was so successful Every/WCNOC provided the library a grant to assist with lunches for the summer of 2023.
This summer USD 244 also received a grant to provide hot meals to be consumed on site, so Burlington Branch Library staff decided to provide sack lunches that could be consumed on site or carried out in “grab and go” style. With two options for free lunches, library administrators assumed they would again serve from 15-25 lunches daily, possibly less. The projected numbers proved to be underestimated as 233 lunches were served the first week. Surprisingly, the number of lunches served daily continued to grow even as the USD 244 Summer Meal Program began.
Library staff became concerned the grant money would be depleted quickly since two to three times the number of lunches from the previous year were being served. They turned to the community asking for food and monetary donations. As a volunteer server, Terri had firsthand knowledge of the success of the lunch program and chose to give her $250 discretionary fund check along with needed food items donated in honor of Loran’s Legacy: Home from the Heart to show support for this much appreciated program. She noted, “As each child grabbed a lunch they thanked those of us who were serving. Children who chose to eat at the library community room showed excitement as they pulled out their lunch contents.”
The library staff and board of directors are grateful to be able to give back to the community. Staff and community volunteers served 3,235 sack lunches this summer. So many people, businesses and community groups helped this program succeed. The Floyd Lewis Foundation, Loran’s Legacy: Home from the Heart, Evergy/WCNOC, Hoover’s, Casey’s, Coffey Health, ECKAN/Headstart, Burlington Recreation, Lions Club, and Rotary Club were instrumental in the success of the summer lunch program.
Other discretionary funds from FLF board members have been given to:
*Team Schnak and their Type 1 diabetes awareness program presented along with t-shirts to BES students
*BHS Theatre in thanks and support of their productions providing entertainment for our community
*The Coffey Health System volunteers in support of the their military care packages program that benefits local soldiers and their troops and the US Wardogs packages for handlers and their highly trained canines
*Lebo High School Future Farmers of America group to bolster their goals
*In appreciation and further support of the community and educational programs provided by Lulabelle’s Flower Farm
*Quilts of Valor and the SCC Honor Flight program for their continued honoring of veterans
*Lebo Schools for use as needed to support students