Hundreds of Rockford-area kids kept from going hungry - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Hundreds of Rockford-area kids kept from going hungry

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ROCKFORD (WREX) -

When school lets out it leaves hundreds of children who depend on free and reduced lunches struggling to find nutritious meals. The City of Rockford feeds children at 30 places around the area in what's called the Summer Food Program so that no kids go hungry when school is out.

"I ate a sandwich, I'm about to eat an apple and I'm drinking milk," says Christian, goes to the Northwest Community Center camp program.

Christian is one of about a hundred children getting fed at the Northwest Community Center, just down the road from Rockford's Auburn High School. There are more than 10 times that number who'd go hungry without help.

"On a daily basis anywhere between 1400 and 1600 kids a day," says Christopher Greenwood, Community Health and Prevention Coordinator.

Those lunches are all put together by Lifescape. The organization already runs programs like Meals on Wheels to feed needy seniors. Lifescape had to hire about 25 extra people just to handle the summer food program for children.

"Our facility is packed right now. Our coolers and our storeroom are packed but we make it work," says Scott Blank, Lifescape, director of food and nutrition services.

But even with all those meals going out only a fraction of the children who could qualify are taking advantage of the available food. Rockford's community health and prevention coordinator says for those getting fed it makes a difference.

"Some of the kids have said you know that they really appreciate the program because without it they would probably go hungry," says Greenwood.

"The food is great. It's kind of a good lunch," says Aryana, goes to the Northwest Community Center camp program.

Even though the city of Rockford runs the summer food program it's paid for by the USDA and the Illinois Board of Education. So children who live as far away as Belvidere are fed through the city's program.

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