Thousands of Children to Participate in Kids Cafe Summer Meals P - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Thousands of Children to Participate in Kids Cafe Summer Meals Program

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The summer meals program for students in Washoe County is set to kick off in the next week. One in four children in Washoe County is hungry and during the school year many are fed through free and reduced lunch program, but when school gets out families are faced with finding food elsewhere. "What we have in Washoe County is 47% of the children qualify for free and reduced lunch, so when school is out that can be a hardship for those children and their families," said Jocelyn Lantrip of the Food Bank of Northern Nevada.

There is a program that's been created to help solve the problem. The Kids Cafe is put on by the Food Bank of Northern Nevada. They're working with several organizations within the community to feed over 2,500 children here in Washoe County. This year they expect to see even more children show up for free summer meals due to the poor economy. "I've watched a child walk up to one of the trucks and get a lunch and open it so quickly, you could tell she hadn't eaten in a while," said Lantrip.

While most of the parks are empty now, many will soon be filled with kids of all ages receiving lunches Monday through Friday starting next week. The Kids Cafe summer meals program has been going on for years and since it started the number of locations for free lunches has expanded to 50. "We only see about 10% of the kids at these sites that qualify so we change it up every year," said Lantrip.

This year they're hoping to feed more. Brock Woodard works as a counselor at Smithridge Elementary School where most of the 700 students rely on free meals during the school year. "Majority of the students do use the free and reduced lunch program. I would say about five kids per grade level will bring their own lunch," said Woodard.

That need for food is also big in the summer. Brock says meals provided help remove the financial burden from families and also  keep kids from being transient. "Having the resources here, giving the parents the opportunities to stay in the community and feel a part of this school and this community - it really helps the kids," said Woodard.

Meals served this summer be mostly  lunches with the same type of healthy foods students get in school. The cost of meals is reimbursed through the USDA but that doesn't include the cost for cooks, food trucks and transportation costs.

If you'd like to contribute -- here's information on how to donate:

For the Summer Meals Program for Kids Schedule, click here:

Written by Chloe Beardsley

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