The East Texas Food Bank Summer Food Program has wrapped up its first month of providing meals to children at 24 sites across our service area. Over 6,300 breakfasts and over 9,800 lunches have been served so far to help kids stay fueled up for summer fun.
The Summer Food Program partners with community locations to provide free meals to students who usually rely on free and reduced meal programs through their school. The program makes sure that children won’t miss meals throughout the summer and get the nourishment they need to thrive until school resumes.
Christina Villanueva, Director of Summer Programs at THE REC in Whitehouse, says the Sumer Food Program is important to the children at her location. THE REC has been a summer food site since 2018.
“We rely on it to be honest,” she said. “If it wasn’t available, it would probably be a little bit of a struggle trying to get all these kids their food.”
Villanueva says THE REC is serving about 50 children per meal per day, a number that has grown this year.
“Our numbers dropped significantly due to COVID last year,” she said. “While we haven’t quite doubled, we are definitely in a better standing then where we were last year.”
The nutritious meals provided during the Summer Food Program consist of whole-grain cereals, sandwiches, wraps, fruits and milk.
“The fresh fruit is a big hit,” Villanueva said. “The kids are always wanting the apples!”
Villanueva said she knows many families struggled with the loss of free and reduced lunches during the school year due to COVID.
“To be able to continue offering this program again this summer, it’s been helpful for families who may still be having that financial struggle,” she said. “We are able to provide all nutritious meals to them. It’s been good.”
To learn more about the East Texas Food Bank Summer Food Program or to find a feeding site near you, click here.