United Way of Lee County Seeking Donations and Volunteers for Summer Eats Program

United Way of Lee County is proud to be able to offer a free summer meal program for kids and teens in Lee County. This program provides free meals all summer long and provides each child with 3 meals to take home with them every week. The goal of the program is to address food insecurity in our county and make sure that every child and family has access to meals when school is out of session. In 2023, United Way of Lee County served over 11,000 meals at 11 sites. This year, we are anticipating an increase in meals served and are also looking for additional donations from the community to help support the program. This program is 100% funded by donations and grants from the community. We would not be able to expand our program without the generous support and donations from the community. This summer, we will be expanding our Summer Eats program into Polo, Illinois. We are excited to grow the program this year and will continue to also have serving sites in Amboy, Ashton, Franklin Grove, Paw Paw and Dixon.

United Way of Lee County would love your help with our Summer Eats program! This year we are asking Lee County churches and organizations to consider promoting and collecting for a canned pasta drive on Mother’s Day, May 12th (or any other time that works for your group). Kids’ favorite choices of pasta items include Spaghettios, Easy Mac, Beefaroni, and ravioli, but we will accept any shelf-stable, individual servings of pasta. 

The items collected will be used to keep our children fed throughout the summer while school is not in session.  We will have 12 sites throughout the county, including at public libraries to help promote literacy. Anyone 18 years old or younger may pick up a FREE sack lunch, no questions asked.  In addition to the pasta dishes, lunches will be full of kid-friendly food such as fruit cups, fruit snacks, crackers, granola bars, oatmeal, and more. 

You can also help support this program through monetary donations. They can be mailed to PO Box 382 in Dixon, IL 61021.  We served over 11,000 meals last summer, and we anticipate a greater need this year.

We are asking for the cans of pasta to be delivered to St. Paul Lutheran Church (815-288-2757) at 421 S. Peoria in Dixon during office hours: Monday – Friday, 9am-2pm.  St. Paul’s has been generous enough to let us use their facilities to pack the lunches. We are hoping to have all donations dropped off by May 24th, but we will be accepting donations throughout the summer.

If a pickup of donations is needed, you can reach out to Sheila at United Way by calling 815-284-3339. Thank you for your kindness, generosity, and support of United Way of Lee County and our Summer Eats program! Special thanks to Dixon Walmart and Geenex for committing to sponsor part of this program.

In addition to monetary donation and food drives, we will also be looking to fill hundreds of volunteer slots. The volunteers help unbox food items, pack meals and serve meals at sites. We would not be able to run this program without the help of so many amazing and dedicated volunteers.

The Summer Eats meal program will run June 5th-August 7th and the volunteer sign up will be shared to our Facebook page. Follow our Facebook page at “United Way of Lee County, Dixon IL.” Donations for Summer Eats can be mailed to:
United Way of Lee County
PO Box 382
Dixon, IL 61021

If you have any questions about the program or volunteering, you can contact Sheila Buccola at sbuccola@uwleeco.org or call 815-284-3339.