Southeast Mo. organizations working to keep kids fed over summer break

The Tiger Bites summer food program will start on June 7 and will end August 9.
Published: May. 23, 2022 at 5:59 PM CDT|Updated: May. 24, 2022 at 2:50 AM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - School is almost out and for some kids that means one less meal a day.

Heartland organizations are working to feed kids whose families may not be able to afford three meals a day.

“Children should be able to enjoy their summers without having to worry about where their next meal is,” Sarah Garner, chief advancement officer with the SEMO Food Bank, said.

For the children at Jefferson Elementary, nutrition is key to their development.

Garner said even more so now that schools are out for the summer.

“When school’s in session, 64 percent of the kids in our area participate in the breakfast and lunch program so we’re trying to fill that gap during the summer months,” she said.

Garner said they will have 19 mobile food distributions specifically for children this summer.

“We want to make sure that we’re doing everything that we can to help get those meals to the families,” said Garner.

For the fourth year, Saint Francis Healthcare System is working with Jefferson Elementary to provide groceries to 40 families.

“The summer program actually provides about 100 dollars’ worth of groceries each week to the families identified by the school that have the greatest need,” said Stacy Huff, executive director of Foundation at Saint Francis.

Huff said every Tuesday for 10 weeks they will box the food and deliver it to the families.

“We work with the school nutritionist to make sure that they get a balanced menu of items, everything from canned vegetables and soups and oatmeal and cereals,” she said.

Garner said filling the needs of children this summer is their top priority.

“Our goal is always to get food on the tables for the families that need them and that is our number one priority every single day here,” she continued.

The Tiger Bites summer food program will start on June 7 and will end August 9.

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