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Summer food program aims to fill students' need gap

By Naomi Prioleau
June 6, 2014 at 10 p.m.


Beginning next week, East Texas children can have free nutritious meals all summer as part of the annual East Texas Food Bank Summer Food Program.

The program provides free meals to children at more than 60 sites throughout East Texas during the summer. Meals will feature healthy items including milk, fruits, vegetables, bread and more

Karolyn Davis, communications director for the East Texas Food Bank, said it was important that children who receive free or reduced lunches at school or children in low-income areas get proper nutrition during the summer.

"This is great because the Summer Food Program helps fill the gap to make sure kids receive food," she said. "We want to make sure they have nutritious meals over the summer so they're ready to learn in August."

Meals will be handed out starting Tuesday, June 10, and some locations will also provide breakfast in addition to lunch.

There are no restrictions on receiving breakfast and lunch as long as the child younger than 18. However, meals and snacks are also available to persons with disabilities older than 18 who participate in school programs for people who are mentally or physically disabled. To participate, children just need to show up. There is no need to register, and no proof of age or income is required.

There is no specific goal this year, but Davis said she thinks they'll exceed more meals than last year.

"Every year the goal is different because some years have more weeks than others, some summers are longer, but we know we'll serve over 100,000 meals," she said.

The free meals help children in low-income areas get the nutrition they need to learn, play and grow throughout the summer months. During the school year, nutritious meals are available through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, however those programs end when school ends for the summer.

"The school breakfasts and lunches play an important role in the nutrition of students at risk of hunger," Executive Director of the East Texas Food Bank Dennis Cullinane said. "When school is out for the summer, it is imperative that the children do not miss these meals due to the added cost to the family budget. Our Summer Food Program fills that gap and works to ensure that our kids receive the food they need during their summer break and we try to keep it fun at the same time."

For more information on the Summer Food Program visit EastTexasFoodBank.org/SummerFood.

Times and places for the Summer Food Program are listed below:

Boys and Girls Club of the Big Pines Hallsville Site, 300 Willow Road

Dates: June 9 - August 8, Monday - Friday

Breakfast: 7 a.m. – 8 a.m.

Lunch: noon – 1 p.m.

Karnack Elementary (G.W. Carver), 14109 FM 134

Dates: June 9 – July 31, Monday – Thursday

Lunch: 11:30 am - 1:30 p.m.

Boys and Girls Club of the Big Pines, 1500 Positive Place

Dates: June 9 - Aug. 8, Monday - Friday

Breakfast: 7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.

Lunch: noon – 1 p.m.

West End Park, 208 Hendrix Street

Dates: June 10 – Aug. 15, Monday - Friday

Lunch: 11:15 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

Ward Plaza Apartments, 1603 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Dates: June 10– Aug. 22, Monday - Friday

Breakfast: 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Lunch: noon – 1 p.m.

Waskom Elementary School/Boys and Girls Club, 301 School Drive

Dates: June 9 - Aug. 8, Monday - Friday

Breakfast: 7 a.m. – 8 a.m.

Lunch: noon – 1 p.m.

All sites closed July 4 in observance of Fourth of July holiday.

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