Classrooms empty, kids stomachs aren't with summer food programs

By  | 

Hunger doesn't take a summer vacation.
With school out for the season, food programs are kicking it into high gear.

Summer isn't a time to skimp on meals.
Dozens of kids in the Black Hills rely on school lunches to feed their hungry tummies nine months out of the year.
But when classrooms become empty, several area programs are making sure kids' stomachs aren't, including the Rapid City Club for Boys.

Mark Kline with the Club for Boys says, "Making sure that every mouth, every meal, every day is being met and doing that as best we can."
Kline says the need is extensive in Rapid City.
Kline says, "I don't even think we've met the need right now. There's probably 13 different sites with schools and programs feeding kids but I know there are kids going without meals. Parents have to work. There's just not enough day care, not enough child care, not enough recreation places like this to accommodate all the kids in Rapid City."
At no charge Monday through Friday, kids eighteen and under can stop by different locations to get a meal at both breakfast and lunch. At YFS, parents can eat with their children for a small fee.

YFS Nutrition Director, Darcie Decker says, "We'll have a cool place for them to eat, recharge up, get ready for whatever -- whether it be swimming or bicycling on that summer day."

And these programs also want to make sure these meals are nutritious, Youth and Family Services offers fruit and vegetable options every day.
Decker says, "Having a nutritious meal is just wonderful for them to be able to continue. They have fun, being alert, and learning even during the summer."
Rapid Ride is also continuing to offer free rides to students over the summer, making it easier for kids to get to and from some of the summer food sites.
Kline says, "If it wasn't for those agencies providing breakfast and lunch like we do -- a lot of those kids won't get those meals. I think it really helps assist to make sure kids in Rapid City don't go hungry."