Groups help feed kids during summer - New York News

Groups help feed kids during summer

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ATLANTA -

More than 870,000 students in Georgia took part in the free or reduced price school lunch program this year. In many cases, that lunch is a child's only good meal and that means there's a void when school's out. Two non-profit groups are teaming up to fill the summer food gap.

Across the metro area, Quality Care for Children (QCC) and Project Open Hand provide free lunch to needy children at 17 summer camps. They help feed 1,100 kids around 74,000 meals.

QCC'S CEO Pam Tatum says hunger is hard to detect, but with one in 4 children in Georgia searching for their next meal, educators are seeing it more and more.

"Children come to school hungry who didn't get breakfast, or maybe they didn't have dinner the night before," Tatum said. "We've had reports from child care providers that parents are sometimes coming in and eating off the children's plates that children are asking to take home leftovers."

The dieticians and chefs at Project Open Hand dish up nutritious plates and teach the kids about food.

"We hear so much about the obesity crisis in our country, epidemics and diabetes in our children and it's health  promoting foods that we give our children now that's going to build a healthy generation for the future," said dietician Charlotte Hayes.

QCC and Open Hand will continue to fight hunger, one plate at a time.

"We feel like it's our responsibility -- really everyone's responsibility -- to step up and do something about this. It doesn't have to happen in Georgia or in the United States," said Tatum.

Many of the summer food service programs require children to be enrolled in them, but the Georgia Food Bank Association has created an easy way for parents to find free summer meal locations near them.  

Text the word "FOODGA" to 877-877 and enter your address when prompted.  

The system will send information on the three closest locations to you.

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