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“Hungry for Happiness” Serves Up Nutrition Info in Utah

PHOTO: Kids eating lunch in a park. Credit: Deborah Smith
PHOTO: Kids eating lunch in a park. Credit: Deborah Smith
June 25, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY - The "Hungry for Happiness" truck is in Salt Lake City today today through Wednesday to feed kids and promote the importance of summer nutrition for children. It's a public-private partnership to try to close the gap between the number of Utah children who access free or reduced-price lunches during the school year and those who receive free summer meals.

Duke Storen, director of the Office of Strategic Initiatives, Partnership & Outreach for the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA), says more summer feeding sites are needed and more families should know about them.

"A lot of these children face a very real danger and do experience hunger throughout the summer. That affects their health and well-being and their retention of knowledge."

Storen says about 85 percent of children eligible for summer lunches are not being served.

Along with food, the Hungry for Happiness truck serves up information about summer feeding sites. Arby's Foundation is helping to pay for the tour and the food. Foundation executive director Kate Atwood says they are also funding a texting program to boost awareness of the program.

"There are innovative ways that we can improve and make it as easy as possible for these kids and the families to reach the meals they need in the summertime."

The summer nutrition tour is part of Share Our Strength's "No Kid Hungry" campaign. Stops are scheduled in Denver and Dallas over the next two weeks.

The Hungry for Happiness truck is at the Sugar House Park Parley's Creek Pavilion, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., today through Wednesday.

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - UT