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Food Bank expands summer food program for youths

Posted May 28, 2010

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— The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina has doubled the number of locations where it supports a summer program that provides food to low-income children.

The federal Summer Food Service Program provides the children with breakfast and lunch when school isn't in session, but North Carolina officials estimate that the program is reaching only 8 percent of the 700,000 students statewide who qualify.

Summer food program for low-income kids Summer program gives kids nutritious meals

"We have many children in our state that get free and reduced-price meals during the school (year), and this is our opportunity to continue that good nutrition when school is out," said Cynthia Ervin, summer food service coordinator for the state Division of Public Health.

Ervin said she is trying to get the word out about the program.

"The more meals we serve, the more funding we get for the sponsors, and therefore, the more federal funding that can be brought into the state," she said.

Next week, the Food Bank will begin Kids Summer Stock, a series of concerts and events to collect food and money for the summer program. A June 3 mixer will be held in Raleigh, followed by concerts in Southern Pines and Durham the next two nights. Events in Cary, Greenville and Wilmington will be held later in the month.

Food Bank spokeswoman Christy Simmons said the Summer Food Service Program is critical for children who receive meals at school for much of the year, which is why the pantry has expanded its reach to 32 programs.

"It's another way to make sure all these thousands of children who are at risk of hunger during the summer have a way to receive nutritious meals," Simmons said.

Jaquilla Suell, 11, is among those children. She attends summer camps at Homework Haven and Kids Cafe in Raleigh, which is part of the nutrition program. Before the camps joined the program, she and other students had to bring their own lunches.

"They might have a can of pork and beans, and that's it," said Joni Craven-Jeffries, after-school and summer camp director at Homework Haven and Kids Cafe. "Some of them might not have a meal."

The nutrition program provides youths with a sandwich, side items like applesauce and raisins, fresh fruit and milk as a typical lunch.

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  • asdfg Jun 7, 2010

    Something needs to be done about all the duplicate programs. Foodstamps, wic, free/reduced lunch, and now this program are all providing food for low income. I'm sure there are others I'm not aware of as well. I guess that explains why I see more people in the grocery store these days buying other peoples groceries in exchange for cash. WIC used to be mostly about baby formula, now I've noticed it even includes canned and frozen foods. i've also noticed that thr "WIC approved" items drive up the costs for the rest of us. Just look at the price on Juicy Juice, the WIC approved size always costs the most per ounce and never goes on sale, its the same with the WIC approved tuna. And, foodstamps should not be used to buy luxury type foods like lobster, ribeye steaks, etc. It drives me crazy to see people buying stuff like this with foodstamps. They are eating better than a lot of the ones who are paying for it.

  • Ladybug008 Jun 4, 2010

    I thought the WIC program was in part, for purchasing food for children? Are we ever going to make people accountable for anything in these 'give away' programs??? These kids eat better than those who parents actually get up & go to work! I too grew up eating PP&J sandwiches for lunch during the summer while my parents worked.

  • aspenstreet1717 Jun 2, 2010

    Grow a garden! oopz you don't have to do that any more jut go on Welfare.
    My grandparent generation would never think about mooching.They grew their own food.

  • 3779LRRP May 28, 2010

    This program is NOT as it seems. It just fortifies lazy parents an excuss not to provide for their children. Parents! Send your kids to school or where ever with a PB&J sandwich like my Mama use to do with me 60 years ago. This program needs to go away.