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Paragon volunteer fire department, church groups offer free summer lunches for kids

PARAGON, Ind. – A small town in Morgan County came together after learning the school district would not be able to offer their kids a summer lunch program this year.

The Paragon Volunteer Fire Station is now busy each weekday as kids come through to get free meals. Teachers, church members and some firefighters are focusing on fighting hunger this summer.

The Metropolitan School District of Martinsville has offered a summer lunch program in Paragon for the last few years. But, this year they did not get enough job applicants to fill summer food services positions.

The district had to scale back its summer lunch program sites around the district and Paragon was among the sites affected by these changes.

“It was brought to our attention about two days before school was out,” said William Davis, chief of the Paragon Volunteer Fire Department. “Within about 48 hours, they put it together to be able to have a lunch program an hour each day for the local community.”

Parents like Michelle Clarkson bring children to the fire house throughout the week.

“They don’t let anybody go hungry,” Clarkson said. “This is a small community and they come together when they have to.”

The program is sustained through food and monetary donations. Volunteers, like Sallie Davis, lend their time each day to cook the food.

“We get here around 9 to 10 a.m. depending on what the menu is,” Sallie Davis said. “Everything we make is homemade.”

This new summer lunch program is providing an average of 100 meals a day and impacting dozens of Paragon families.

“It’s a warm heart feeling – that’s what it is,” Sallie Davis said. “The kids love it. And, we love giving it to them.”

Volunteers would like to keep the program running for the rest of the summer break. Right now, they are in need of more meat to prepare meals. Donations can be sent to:

Paragon Volunteer Fire Co.

ATTN: Lunch Program

P.O. BOX 225

Paragon, IN 46116

You can also contact the fire chief at willdavis@paragonfire.com.