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Posted: Jun 25, 2018 04:38 PM EDT Updated: Jun 25, 2018 06:04 PM EDT
By: Bailee Martin
JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) --- Many families in the East deal with food insecurity. And when school is out and kids no longer have accessed to free lunch, summertime can be a big struggle.
Forty six percent of families qualify for free and reduced meals in the Onslow County School District. The schools are bridging the summer gap with their free summer food program.
The Onslow County School System has an important goal this summer, “to reach those children who may suffer from food insecurities on some level,” said nutrition program supervisor Rebecca Collins.
Being food insecure means that you don’t know where your next meal will come from.
“It’s a good thing to know that there is a place at least that they don’t have to worry about," said Lourdes Garcia, Onslow Soup Kitchen director. "And they can come and get some food, a home cooked meal.”
The school system provides lunch from Monday to Thursday on certain weeks during the summer. But some students may struggle to get to the schools without busses running.
“I know that there’s other organizations,” said Collins, “within the county who also operate a summer food service program. So if they’re not able to get to one of our sites, they may be able to get into one of the other ones, like a local church.”
One of the other organizations offering free food this summer is the soup kitchen at Onslow Community Outreach.
“When they come in through those doors,” said Garcia, “it could be hard times that they might be having. We like to make sure that they get a good warm meal.”
They try to provide when the school system cannot.
“We do get an increase,” said Garcia, “when the summer comes. And we see it. What would they do without it? I really don’t know. It would be a sad situation, it would be.”
Both the soup kitchen and the school system will be providing hot meals for free all summer.
You can check the participating schools, dates, and serving times for the summer meal program online at onslow.k12.nc.us.