SPARKS, Nev. (AP) - Washoe County School District students who normally rely on free school lunches during the academic year will not have to go hungry now that school is out for the summer months.
The Food Bank of Northern Nevada kicked off its 10th annual Kids Cafe Summer Food Program this week at Sierra Vista Elementary School with a plea for more parents to get their children involved.
The program typically provides free nutritious meals to between 1,500 and 1,800 children during the summer, but more than 22,000 are eligible because they are considered at risk of hunger – about 35 percent of all students in the district, officials said.
"For a lot of kids, the only meal they get is the one they get at school," said Darryl Feemster, youth and senior services manger for the city of Reno.
"This program is important to make sure the kids are eating once school is out," he said.
Mike Wurm of the Boys and Girls Club of Truckee Meadows stressed the importance of the summer food program as he handed out ice cream Wednesday in connection with Hunger Awareness Day.
"When kids can start their day with a meal in their stomach, they are able to focus on school and learn so much more," Wurm said. "They don't have to worry about an empty stomach."
The summer food program will be available in 29 locations, mostly at parks and schools in low-income neighborhoods throughout Washoe County.
Funded mostly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, school district cooks prepare the meals. Meals vary but usually contain two ounces of meat, fruit and vegetables, bread and milk.
Information from: The Sparks Tribune
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.