ABILENE, TX — Many children look forward to summer vacation, but for hundreds of Abilene kids, it’s a somber reminder that they’ll have to search for their daily meals.
“Many kids would go hungry during the summer,” Chirstin Fletcher said.
“I think they would be surprised,” Kelly Jowers added.
Many rely on their school lunch for daily nutrition.
This means when school lets out for summer, they’re left wondering where their next meal is coming from.
“I know that they wouldn’t receive a balanced meal because like I said parents are working and they’re trying to you know get to work on time,” Jowers said.
Fortunately, there’s help. Fletcher is the summer feeding coordinator for Abilene ISD. The program is funded through the USDA.
“The summer feeding program is a free program for kids 18 and under that can have free breakfast and lunch provided for all students that would like to come and eat with us,” Fletcher said.
The program offers a free breakfast and lunch at over a dozen locations in town.
Fletcher knows how important it is to have food in walking distance for children.
“During the school year, healthy breakfast and lunch are provided for a good majority of the kids through the campuses. AISD alone is about 70 percent free and reduced meal prices for students,” Fletcher said.
The rest of the year, children can focus on being children because of the program.
“The school year is only 9 months long and so during the summer what the summer feeding program does provides free meals for those kids,” Fletcher said.
“Kids thrive better when they have a good healthy breakfast and lunch,” Fletcher added.
Kelly Jowers is the Youth Program Director at the YMCA. She said she’s seen children come in with just a piece of rotting fruit for the day.
“A lot of times they would just bring in a cold sandwich or chips, things that are unhealthy,” Jowers said.
She said partnering with AISD to ensure all kids can eat changes lives.
“They bring in all the food for the children and then the public can come ages 18 and younger,” Jowers said.
Jowers said if your child needs a meal, just make sure they get to one of the facilities this summer.
“It’s not like they’re being set aside or anything like that so no one would really even know. They would just think they’re coming in and going through the lunch line,” Jowers said.
Click here for a list of times and locations.
Any child can go, whether or not they receive free or reduced lunch, and no registration is required.