Food For Good: Program gives meals to students receiving free or reduced lunch
As students attend class virtually, there’s fear food scarcity could skyrocket
ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - The United States Census Bureau found 29 million Americans did not have enough food between July 16 and July 21. With schools reopening and thousands opting for online options, one program is working to make sure all students have access to food.
“There are roughly 54 million school children on a normal day, 22 million get some sort of supplemental meal programming,” Doug Hargis, Senior Manager for Food For Good said.
PepsiCo’s Food for Good was launched in 2009 to provide meals to students who may be at-risk of going hungry.
“Our program is designed to get food to those children in rural who may like transportation or the logistic ability to get to that food,” he said.
The program delivers two weeks’ worth of breakfasts and lunches to a student’s front door.
Hargis said once stay-at-home orders closed summer camps and after school programs, the need for meals among children grew.
“COVID-19 has displaced students and put a great barrier gap between them and the healthy nutritious food they need,” he said.
Local dietician, Eugene Lee agrees.
“The whole point of nutrition, especially in school attending children, is to support optimal growth and brain development,” Lee said.
Lee said parents show strive to give their kids a balanced meal similar to one they’d receive for school lunch.
“Kids are a lot more likely to eat the food if they’re involved in the shopping or involved in the cooking,” Lee said.
The program has given out more than 700,000 meals throughout Louisiana; however, only one major city in Cenla uses the program. Hargis would like to see more families take advantage of the program.
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