Fort Smith Sack Lunch Program Moving Locations After 15 Years

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FORT SMITH (KFSM)-- The sack lunch program is moving locations after 30 years in the River Valley.

In a close 4-3 vote on Tuesday evening (Dec. 1), Fort Smith city directors passed an ordinance allowing the sack lunch program located on the corner of B and 6th Streets to move to a larger building at F and 3rd Streets.

Rev. Michael Lager of St. John`s Episcopal Church, who works closely with the sack lunch program, said it simply need a bigger building.

“A little more room to move around as we`re making the sandwiches and putting the sack lunches together, and we just see it as we can serve our neighbors more efficiently,” Lager said.

He also said because it’s only moving a few blocks away, people will still be able to walk there.

“We`re just in our neighborhood, and so that`s a pretty minimal distance, and so for us and our program we don`t see that that will cause any hardship on the people that we serve,” Lager said.

However, some people like William McGee, who volunteers with the program, disagree.

“I think this is a great location, man,” McGee said. “Them moving it on the north side of town, it`s going to be a lot more hassle and a lot more trouble for people.”

City director Keith Lau said he voted against the move because he doesn`t want the homeless in the developing Riverfront property, but many people who use the program aren`t homeless and said moving to a nicer area will help serve the people who truly need it.

“I don`t want to put them down, but a lot of weird people come around here, and they just got no respect for anything,” Ron Martin, a resident who uses the program, said. “The church used to let them sit on the wall over there, but they kept trashing the property.”

Lager said the move won`t happen for the next few months.

“What this was was just the first step in order for us to get the permission to be able to do it, and now the real work begins of trying to raise the funds to be able to do this,” Lager said.

He added that the program will not change. The program will still serve meals to anyone who needs one Monday through Saturday.

Anyone can volunteer or donate by calling St. John’s episcopal church at 479-782-9912.