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Local leaders working to battle hunger problem in Newton

Published: Monday, Dec. 7, 2015 11:23 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Dec. 7, 2015 11:39 a.m. CDT
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(Jamee A. Pierson/Daily News)
Newton Police Chief Rob Burdess; Terry Sallis, director of Integrated Treatment Services; and Dale Maki representing the Newton American Legion Post 111 are working together to bring a Tuesday evening meal to the community to help battle the ongoing hunger issue in town.

To combat the ever present hunger issue that only seems to be growing within the community, three local leaders are hoping fill part of the need with a new meal program.

Terry Sallis of Integrated Treatment Services, Dale Maki with the Newton American Legion Post 111 and Newton Police Chief Rob Burdess are working together to create the program, Dinner on Tuesdays, which would serve meals on Tuesday evenings at the Legion, 1101 W. Fourth St. S.

“For the last month or so we have been discussing the condition of what is going on in our city. A lot of people don’t have it as good as a lot of other people and there is a huge need for food,” Sallis said.

He said local churches that provide meals during the week typically serve 20 to 80 people and sometimes as many as 100 people.

“That is a lot of people in a community this size,” Sallis said. “We thought it would be a good idea if we could have an additional day during the week where we could provide a meal.”

Burdess, who sees that status of the community on a daily basis through his work at the police department, became involved after Sallis contacted him about the hunger problem.

“Obviously we have identified a need over the years. Through our discussion Terry brought up this idea and I thought it was a good idea and will give my support any way possible,” Burdess said.

After Sallis contacted Maki, the Legion seemed like an ideal place to hold the meals, with a large dining room and kitchen available.

“I couldn’t do it myself and the Legion couldn’t do it themselves and the chief couldn’t do it himself so we are partnering together on this project,” Sallis said.

With a concrete idea in place, now the work begins to make it a reality. The group started meeting to work out the details and came up with a website to inform community members of the meals and gather donations and volunteers to get the program up and running.

“It’s a good idea, but we have to get people on board, volunteers to do the cooking and the serving,” Maki said.

The group plans on serving dinner from 5 to 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday, potentially starting by the end of the month or after the first of the year. It has also started a website, www.dotnewton.com, to post information about the meals and what the program is in need of.

For those interested in donating to the meal you can contact the program organizers through the website or contact Sallis at 641-275-1119 or at Integrated Treatment Services, 303 S. Second Ave. W.

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or jpierson@newtondailynews.com