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Efforts Under Way to Get Summer Meals to More Nevada Kids

PHOTO: More than 150,000 children in Nevada receive free or reduced-price meals during the school year. But in the summer, that number drops to less than 15,000. Efforts are under way to change that. Photo credit: LetsMove.gov.
PHOTO: More than 150,000 children in Nevada receive free or reduced-price meals during the school year. But in the summer, that number drops to less than 15,000. Efforts are under way to change that. Photo credit: LetsMove.gov.
June 30, 2014

RENO, Nev. - Summer vacation doesn't mean hunger takes a break. The Food Bank of Northern Nevada has been working with organizations to ensure that children who depend on free or reduced-price lunches during the school year also receive nutritious summer meals.

Jocelyn Lantrip, director of marketing and public relations at the Food Bank of Northern Nevada, said only about 6 percent of children eligible for lunches from the Summer Food Service Program take advantage of it.

"We struggle each year," said Lantrip. "Looking at the schedule and trying to find, what are the barriers to children coming out and eating? We know that the need is very high in our area, and we want to get more kids fed."

A national report found that average daily participation for Nevada's summer meals program was up 3 percent in 2013 from the previous year.

According to Lantrip, the summer food program is offered at about 175 sites statewide, including at many public schools.

She added that hunger is a complicating factor in a child's life.

"Hungry children are sick more often," explained Lantrip. "They have more difficulty in school. Even the instances of them being hospitalized are higher, if they're not getting their nutritional needs met."

Lantrip also pointed to research showing that 25 percent of Nevada's children experience "food insecurity." That means that at times they don't have enough food to eat.

Read Hunger Doesn't Take A Vacation: Summer Nutrition Status Report 2014, from the Food Research and Action Council.

To find the summer meals site closest to you, call 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479), visit fbnn.org or text SummerNV to 877 877.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NV