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Programs offer meals for children during summer vacation

Posted June 24, 2009
Updated June 25, 2009

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— North Carolina is No. 2 in U.S. for children under the age of 5 who are not getting enough food, according to a report released last month by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Summer help for hungry children Summer help for hungry children

To help change that, the Boys and Girls Club of Eastern North Carolina started a feeding program this summer.

“Sometimes it may have been a soda and a candy bar, that might have been their lunch that day because that is all the parents could afford at the time,” said Donyell Jones, club director.

Some of the children taking part in this year's program have gone without adequate nutrition for two summers. That is because the club program had been without a sponsor until the USDA stepped in to help.

Children pay a nominal fee to belong to the club, but the meals are free. Each child gets breakfast daily and lunch of a sandwich, some chocolate milk, vegetables and a piece of fresh fruit.

For the first time ever, the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina is also sponsoring a summer feeding program at 15 locations.

“What happens is we have more kids eating,” said Earline Middleton, the food bank's vice president of programs.

Middleton said the program is a direct result of the struggling economy and the increasing need for assistance.

“I had two boys and I know they ate a lot. So in the summer time, this is a way we can help families, as well as give a nutritious meal for the kids,” Middleton said.

Parents and program directors say the food program helps in more ways that one.

“To see just like the relief off their face, knowing that my child will be fed each and every day for the whole summer definitely is a benefit,” Jones said.

To find the nearest summer feeding program, go to the Nutrition Services Branch Web site or call 1-800-662-7030.

5 Comments

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  • JenNC Jun 26, 2009

    Maybe those parents need to be directed to this article... http://www.wral.com/lifestyles/healthteam/story/4810835/

    How about they buy nutritious food with the food stamps instead of junk...

  • Mom2two Jun 26, 2009

    I want to know why their parents are not feeding them? I don't mean to sound cruel and heartless, and I truly do feel for children that are hungry, but when the B&G Club director says that all that child had was a candy bar and a soda, then there is a parent neglecting a child. For the same amount of money as a candy bar and a soda, a child could have had milk and several bananas. Parents that are not getting food stamps need to apply for them, and those that are need to feed their children with them and stop selling them on the street. I am cool with the free and reduced lunches, but then there was the backpack buddies and now this.

    Parents have got to be held responsible for their children's basic needs, and when they are not being met, then the parent needs to be accountable.

  • bronzegoddess40 Jun 26, 2009

    JAFOinWF, has it ever occurred to you that maybe, just maybe your tax dollars are not being used to feed them in the first place? I think it is an excellent program for the children.

  • JAFOinWF Jun 26, 2009

    Great, so all of the taxes I pay still cannot feed the kids whose parents can't take care of them.

  • SweetB Jun 25, 2009

    To find the nearest summer feeding program, go to the Nutrition Services Branch Web site or call 1-800-662-7030, wonder if we can volunteer at these places, great idea for taking our teenage kids, so they (and ourselves) understand more of what is going on right under our noses.