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PNS Daily Newscast - November 15, 2018 


Lawyer Michael Avenatti arrested on a domestic violence charge. Also on the Thursday rundown: More testimony on Ohio's "anti-protest" bill; and we'll take you to the Dakotas to celebrate American Education Week.

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Texas Struggling to Get Summer Meals to Hungry Children

PHOTO: A new national report shows Texas falling behind national averages for feeding hungry children after schools close their doors for the summer. Photo courtesy state of West Virginia.
PHOTO: A new national report shows Texas falling behind national averages for feeding hungry children after schools close their doors for the summer. Photo courtesy state of West Virginia.
June 8, 2015

AUSTIN, Texas – Only 12 out of every 100 low-income children in Texas who need summer meals get them, according to a new report from the Food Research and Action Center.

Nationally, the ratio is 16 to 100, an increase from the previous year.

Celia Cole, CEO of the anti-hunger group Feeding Texas, says two-thirds of the state's students rely on school cafeterias for breakfast and lunch, and getting children to food sites at churches and other organizations can be challenging.

"When school gets out and kids go on summer vacation, hunger doesn't take a vacation, and many of those kids are without important nutrition during the summer months,” she points out. “The purpose of the summer food program is to make sure that those same kids don't go hungry."

Missed meals for children also means missed money for the state. If Texas had fed 40 children last summer for every 100 who ate breakfast or lunch at school, the state would have received an additional $51 million in federal funds.

Cole notes transportation is a big problem for children in rural areas when school buses are also on summer vacation.
She says the site-based model works in some places but not others, and points to a successful pilot program in El Paso as a viable alternative, where children got summer credit on food stamp debit cards allowing them to access food even if they can't get to a particular site.

"We don't want to let Texas school children go hungry during the summer months,” she stresses. “Not only do those kids suffer, but when they go back to school they're not ready to learn, and that affects everyone."

Feeding hungry children in Texas isn't getting any easier. On an average summer day in 2014, some 273,000 children received summer meals, down 2 percent from the previous summer.

Texas families can find summer meal sites by calling 211, or texting FOODTX to 877-877, or online at
SquareMeals.ORG.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - TX