Salvation Army — Rogers County Unit board members and Food 4 Kids coordinators include (from left) Angie Graves, Bette Willey, Bobbye Mooney, Debbie Kara, Gloria Conaway, Rev. Charles Ragland, Georgi Bruce and Barbara Ingram. They recently voted to expand the program to Chelsea Schools.

Not even one year into its existence, the Salvation Army — Rogers County Unit’s Food 4 Kids program is already expanding.

Food 4 Kids distributes nutritious snacks to children from low income families to take home with them each Friday for the weekend when they don’t have access to school breakfasts and lunches.

Part of a national initiative, the local program began Oct. 2, after indentifying 50 children at Claremont and Westside elementaries.

“Our plan was to begin slowly and expand to all of Rogers County,” said Georgi Bruce, Salvation Army treasurer. “In January we added 10 children to include the third elementary school.”

Recently, the board voted to include another 30 children from Chelsea Public Schools for a total of 90 children receiving snacks each week.

“We are evaluating when we can add Foyil and how many children need to be included,” Bruce said.

Claremore Walmart Supercenter orders the monthly food supply in bulk and volunteers transport the cartons of non-perishable food from the store to the distribution area.

Numerous volunteers fill and distribute the bags, including school clubs, First United Methodist Church, Claremore Church of the Nazarene, Pilot Club of Claremore, and the Department of Human Services.

“Community organizations, businesses and individuals have been very generous through their donations so far,” Bruce said.

But in order for the program to help even greater numbers of Rogers County children, more funds are needed. The annual estimated cost of the program currently is $10,900.

“We are encouraging individuals to commit to sponsor one child for the whole year for $125,” said Barbara Ingram, Salvation Army president.

One hundred percent of all contributions remain in Rogers County.

Send monetary donations to Salvation Army, 21555 S. Echo Canyon Road, Claremore, OK 74017 and note “Food 4 Kids” on the memo line. For more information about the Food 4 Kids program, contact Barbara Ingram at 341-7108.

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