ARDMORE, OK - With the school year coming to an end many kids could be left without access to meals they're used to receiving at school, but one summer food program in Ardmore is making sure children won't go hungry when school's out.
Although the Department of Education has been forced to cut funding from many areas, the state will still fund its Summer Feeding Service program, designed to make sure all children are well fed even during the summer break.
While many kids are eager for summer, for those who rely on school meals the three month break from school can be scary.
"We do have kids that can rely on breakfast and lunch here and then that's really important so it's really, really scary right now with the economy being the way it is, and children to be out there without the resources they need," says Keri Lowe, counselor at Charles Evens Elementary School.
Lowe says it's vital for children to receive proper nutrition even in the summer months to ensure kids can start the new school year focused and ready to learn.
"One of the problems we have with kids that are chronically hungry is that there attention span is a lot less, they can not concentrate, they cannot learn without their basic needs being meet so it's really important that kids grow up and have nutrition."
The Ardmore City Schools will provide children in summer school with breakfast and lunch, but says funding for summer school next year could be in jeopardy due to state budget cuts.
Funding for the state sponsored Summer Feeding Service Program is not in danger though. The program is offered at the H.F.V. Wilson Community Center and is open to any child in need.
"As long as you're a child within those guildelines between one and 18, you can come and eat. It doesn't cost you anything to make sure that we don't have the malnutrition problems they had in the past and to keep kids healthy," Angela Adams, director of the H.F.V. Wilson Community Center, says.
Adams says the program will be open from June 1st to July 30, and hopes both parents and children will take advantage of the free meals.
"So the fact that your kids can get something that's going to meet all the food pyramid requirements and things that way, and make sure that they get something nutritious is very important."
Adams says in the past the program has served more than 100 meals a day, and she anticipates and even greater need this summer, but says children can still participate in the Kids Café program at the center through the end of May.
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