(KDKZ-TV) In Missouri, nearly 400,000 children rely on free and reduced-price school breakfast and lunch programs during the school year, but when summer rolls around, many of these children go hungry, according to the anti-hunger group Hunger Free America.
Meals and snacks are served throughout the state at schools, community centers and other places in neighborhoods, but the problem is, many people don’t know where to go.
Joel Berg is CEO at Hunger Free America. His group is pushing a toll-free nationwide number that provides information about where children can get free meals.
“About 80 percent of the kids who get school lunch on a daily basis don’t get summer meals, primarily because they just don’t know where sites are,” he said.
Berg said hunger is a national problem that needs a federal solution, not just lip service by politicians.
“You can’t go to a food pantry and cut a ribbon and then vote for a child nutrition bill that takes meals away from hungry kids and claim you’re a hunger fighter,” he added. “That’s what some in Congress are doing these days.”
No Kid Hungry Missouri said only 7 percent of the kids who get free meals during school participate in free summer food programs.
The number to call is 1-866-3-HUNGRY for English speakers, and 1-877-8-HAMBRE for Spanish speakers.