PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Most kids can’t wait for school to let out for summer vacation!
But one thing many will miss during the summer months is the free and low-cost breakfast and lunch programs served in area schools during the school year.
“With the combination of breakfast and lunch, that’s about 8.3 million meals in our 11-county service area,” Tamara Kilgore of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Wednesday.
Delano: “During the school year?”
Kilgore: “During the school year, yes.”
Delano: “That’s a lot of meals.”
Kilgore: “That’s a lot of meals, a lot of breakfasts and lunch. But we have a lot of kids and it’s crucial to their development that they get the meals that they need.”
Some 43 percent of area school children qualify for free and reduced priced school meals, but that disappears when school is out.
So enter the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Citizens Bank, Giant Eagle, and KDKA-TV to host a Feed the Kids Summer Telethon.
“So we partner and participate in that program and partner with organizations across our service area, across the 11 counties, to provide on-site meals for kids, 18 and under,” says Traci Weatherford-Brown of the Food Bank.
“You don’t need any proof that you’re eligible. If you’re a kid and you’re hungry this summer, you can just show up.”
So where do kids go for the summer food program?
“Typically, feeding sites include schools, churches, libraries — Carnegie Library is a great partner for us here in the city — and there’s usually good activities, fun things to do, not just to get a meal.”
But the program relies on donations from organizations and local residents with each dollar raised leveraged to provide five meals for kids.
“I feel that the community always comes through and helps us make sure kids have enough to eat,” says Kilgore.
“We have a lot of parents who think, if my kid needs milk, every kid needs milk. That’s the kind of mentality that we’re looking for.”
All children under 18, regardless of family income, are eligible for free lunches this summer at participating churches, schools, and community centers.
Click here to find a location close to you.