Fargo YMCA serves summer meals to any family wanting lunch

How the YMCA's free lunch program is helping local families dealing with a summer of sticker shock everywhere else.

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FARGO — When you have a houseful of kids to feed during summer vacation, the cost adds up. Fargo's YMCA is meeting a critical need now that school is out.

The summer meal program at 10-locations in Fargo and West Fargo, is a budget saver for families of all incomes. At Jefferson elementary in south Fargo the food is a hit with the kids. Mac & Cheese, green peas and fresh watermelon.

It's just one location where students, used to a noon meal at school, are still getting one, even though it is summer vacation.

"It is free and open to the community so anyone can stop in and eat and leave," says Katie Anderson, YMCA Summer Meal Program Director.

Kayla Hodges was out biking with her children and neighbor kids when they decided to stop at the downtown Fargo YMCA for lunch.


"Knowing we are saving money on me feeding them lunch, helps my brain wrap around the increase in gas prices," Kayla Hodges, a Fargo mom, who brought her children and neighbor kids to the YMCA, said.

Last summer, they served 115,000 meals, and they are on track to serve just as money and this summer. The YMCA is noticing families across the board are coming in for meals.

"It helps me a lot, I don't have to worry about how much money will I spend for this meal, this is a free meal and it is good quality food," Mariah Stubblefield, who brought her sisters here, said.

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"It tells us there is a need and a lot of people don't realize there is a need out there. And it is not just impoverished families but everybody. Mothers watching other kids or have multiple children in the house they normally don't have," Anderson said.

The USDA funds the summer program; no financial need is required.
Details on when you can grab a meal are on the YMCA's website here:

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

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