Food for Lane County makes sure low-income kids receive lunches in the summer

Food for Lane County is making sure kids who qualify for free lunch at school don't go hungry in the summer. They're offering free lunches until August 25. (SBG photo)

EUGENE, Ore. – More than half of the K through 12 students in Lane County are eligible for free lunch programs at school, according to Food for Lane County.

But when school is out, that hunger and need doesn’t go away.

Food for Lane County works through the summer to keep young people eating nutritiously year-round.

“We have hamburgers, apples and carrots for today,” said Joshua Sand, a Food for Lane County volunteer. “It’s a complete meal. It gives you all the basic nutrition that you need.”

It’s a lunch some families may not be able to afford during the summertime.

“It's important because we have in this county over 53 percent of our kids eligible for the national school lunch program,” said Karen Roth, program manager of the Child Nutrition Program. “Many kids really depend on the free meals at school for their daily nutrition.”

Roth said that’s part of the reason why Food for Lane County is handing out free lunches to kids during the summer.

She said year-round nutrition is not only essential for children’s growth, but also for their education.

“What happens is that the last part of the body that gets the nutrition is the cognitive development and we don't see that and we don’t see that because it’s not very visual, but we will see kids falling behind in school,” Roth said.

The program serves as many as 200 kids, five days a week, to ensure they’re ready to return to learning when summer is over.

Roth said they have 58 different locations for the summer lunch program.

To find out more about the summer lunch program, click here.

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