Free meal program may close by year’s end


LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – When Joe Maldonado sits down for lunch in the senior center on Pershing Avenue, he feels like he’s among family.

“It’s friendly,” Maldonado said. “I know most of the people.”

Maldonado has been going to the free meal program hosted by the Spanish American Civic Association for a year, but he’s quickly becoming another face in the crowd.

“A lot of people do need to come here or they have no other source of where to eat,” Maldonado said.

SACA officials say they’ve recently seen a spike in those attending the free lunch program. Jaqueline Fisher, the executive director of SACA, said she believes the increase has been caused by other community meals stopping.

Fisher said they’re now serving an extra 100 meals a day.

“It’s been a strain for us,” Fisher said. “Our budget was low to start with and we get limited funding. At this point, we’re at about $35,000 to $40,000 in the hole and in need of funding.”

Fisher said without $40,000 to $50,000, the free meal program could close before the end of the year. She said she hopes churches or community members help with donations.

“These people are community members who are struggling to just feed themselves, a basic need. We should be able to help them,” Fisher said.

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