Summer food program needs more funding Funding.
Byline: RICK HAYES CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Franklin County Circuit Clerk Jim Muir is on a mission to feed the county's children in poverty during the summer months.
Muir asked for the Benton City Council's blessings during its meeting Monday night.
Muir's idea came from a published article in which the Illinois State Board of Education was seeking feeding centers around the state.
"In the summer months, these kids get up with the question of what they're going to eat that day," Muir said.
After researching the subject, Muir learned 70 percent of the kids in Franklin County live in homes below the poverty level. Nearly 11,000 students in the county are on the state's free lunch program.
The West Frankfort and Zei
Continued from Page 1
gler communities are feeding kids during the summer months through local churches. Christopher uses a federally funded program through the school in the high school cafeteria. Sesser- Valier and Benton do not have such programs, although Muir pointed out that officials at the Benton/West City Ministerial Alliance say they feed between 300 to 400 children per day during the summer months.
"They're trying to find the money to do this, and I told them I will get you the money," Muir said, adding he has received support from the Sesser City Council to provide meals at the park pavilion and members of the Ministerial Alliance in that community have agreed to provide volunteers.
Muir estimated it will take about $12,000 to fund both programs. He said that unlike traditional fundraising methods, he is looking for 120 individuals to donate $100 each.
"It's a great opportunity to help kids," he said. "I grew up in a household where you went to a refrigerator and got what you wanted. Think about a little kid in the summer months not sure what he's going to eat or if he's going to eat that day. If we can eliminate just one of those meals then we've taken a giant step."
Mayor Fred Kondritz said, "We don't need to be running all over the world helping people in some God-awful country. Franklin County has kids going hungry. This is in our hometown. It's embarrassing awful. Give this serious thought and let's keep this program going and feed our kids."
Muir left the meeting with $600 in hand -- a $500 contribution from Tom Carter and $100 from Commissioner Ronnie Baumgarte. Carter challenged each council member to donate $100.
In other business:
* Council accepted a $40,000 offer from Haresh Thacker of EMC Corp. for the Logan/Webster school property between Webster and Church streets. The property went into the real estate surplus auction recently, but got no bids. City Attorney Tom Malkovich said the city is no longer required to accept a bid of more than 85 percent of the property's appraised value. The property sold was appraised at $70,000.
* The city accepted a $450,000 housing grant from the Department of Commerce and Economic Development to be administered through Crosswalk. About 10 homes on North Main from Bond to Park streets will be rehabilitated through the program, according to city leaders.
* City officials purchased a safety cage and water pump through safety grant money provided by the city's worker's compensation insurance carrier at a cost of about $12,000.