Free lunch program keeping children fed over the summer
BATON ROUGE - A summer program is feeding thousands of kids in East Baton Rouge Parish, and the numbers are rising.
The summer meals program is federally funded through the USDA and feeds thousands of kids under the age of 18 two meals a day: breakfast and lunch.
Felicia Barnes, the summer feeder coordinator with the East Baton Rouge Parish School System says she's seen an increase in the number of students receiving meals.
"I may predict we're going to do 4,000 meals a day. Well, two days ago we almost did 5,300 meals that day, so we have really increased... At least about 20 percent," Barnes said.
Kayla Whitfield prepares food for the kids inside of Capitol Middle School and says this program fills a gap for students who are in need of a meal.
"A lot of kids don't eat over the summer like they should. So, it's supplementing that meal for them during the whole summer, and then when school kicks back in we're right back into gear," said Whitfield.
There are 75 locations where students can grab a hot meal, which include some school sites and non-school sites, like parish libraries. Capitol Middle School is one of the school sites that serves meals and it's one of the program's busiest.
"We are in nine libraries throughout the parish. We do some housing authority properties, so we are everywhere we think people are and where people may need food," said Barnes.
The program ends on July 27th.