Education News

Program Provides Kids Free Meals Through Summer

Houston Mayor Annise Parker joined other government officials to serve free lunch to dozens of children today. It’s part of an effort to provide healthy meals throughout the year.

Mayor Parker distributes lunch boxes to children
Houston Mayor Annise Parker distributes lunch boxes to children as part of the city’s free summer meals program.

 

Students pick up lunchboxes as they file in to the Denver Harbor Multi-Service Center near downtown Houston. It’s one of hundreds of sites participating in the city’s Summer Meals program, which provides children under 18 with free lunches and snacks.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker says the program helps fill the gaps in nutrition.

“And if you feed lots and lots of kids every day at school because they have no other way to have a good healthy meal, what happens to those kids during the summer?” Parker asks.

In the Houston Independent School District, 81 percent of students qualify for free or reduced price lunch. But outside of school, they may have no guarantee of eating a healthy meal.

The Houston Food Bank estimates that one in four children in southeast Texas is at risk of hunger.

Stephen Williams is director of the city’s Department of Health and Human Services. He says it’s a public health issue.

“In order for children to learn, in order for children to grow and to prosper, we support nutrition,” Williams says.

The Summer Meals program runs through August 14. 

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