Sen. Jerry Moran distributes food, thanks volunteers at Hocker Grove as part of Shawnee Mission meal program

Sen. Jerry Moran, left, discusses the program with a volunteer. He said he visits food distribution programs to see how they work, and how he can help.

Sen. Jerry Moran Monday morning helped provide food to Shawnee Mission families at Hocker Grove Middle School, in concert with the district’s meal distribution program.

As Senate Hunger Caucus co-chair and a representative of an agriculture state, Moran said he loves seeing opportunities to connect food producers to those in need. He thanked volunteers and food service employees for their efforts, and said there are always ways for those who want to help to get involved.

“Generally, there are lots of opportunities for Kansans and Americans to step forward and make a difference in their community,” Moran said. “While I work at trying to make sure what we do in Washington, D.C., is helpful, we really solve problems in our communities from person to person, from charity to person who’s in trouble, who’s challenged.”

The Department of Agriculture provided waivers to allow food service programs to adapt to current needs amid the pandemic, Moran said. One of these waivers open up the opportunity to all families, not just those who qualify for reduced or free lunches, he said.

Moran packs a meal for a Shawnee Mission family to pick up.

As Moran visits these programs — he previously visited one western Kansas — he speaks with food service program directors to determine any problems or challenges. If something needs to be changed or is slipping through the cracks, Moran said he wants to know how he can help.

With families struggling across the state, Moran said hunger is an issue the community and its leaders should be able to address. Additionally, meal distribution programs provide families in need with some comfort knowing that children are still being cared for, he said.

“The best solution to problems in Kansas is when we all work together,” Moran said. “This is a really good example of that.”

Shawnee Mission’s meal distribution program will continue through July 24. The program takes place on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Families receive two days of breakfast and lunch on Mondays — per child, who does not have to be present to pick up the food — and three days of breakfast and lunch on Wednesdays. Below are the meal distribution locations:

  • Comanche Elementary, 8200 Grant Street
  • Rosehill Elementary, 9801 Rosehill Road
  • Shawanoe Elementary, 11230 W. 75th Street
  • Hocker Grove Middle School, 10400 Johnson Drive