Summer meals program to expand

Breakfast, lunches could be served to three times as many city children as last year

May 15, 2008|By Andrew Kipkemboi | Andrew Kipkemboi,Sun reporter

A city program that delivers breakfast and lunch to underprivileged youths could feed three times as many children this summer as it did last year, Mayor Sheila Dixon announced yesterday.

The Baltimore City Summer Food Program, which benefits children younger than 18, is designed to take the place of the subsidized meals many students receive at school. This year's program will run from June 16 to Aug. 15.

"When the school year ends, so do the school meals, and some of the children and families need additional support over the summer holiday," Dixon said.

Last summer, the program provided meals to 10,000 children at 345 sites, including churches and community nonprofit centers. This summer, Dixon said, the program could serve as many as 33,000 children. She said 111 school centers have been added as meal sites.

Dixon said City Hall had approved more than $2.7 million for the program. Additional funds will come from the Maryland State Department of Education's School and Community Nutrition Program. Martin's Caterers Inc. prepares and delivers the food to the children at no cost.

The mayor asked more parents to sign up children for the program.

"There is no shame in participating in the program, as many of you know. With the economy and the high costs of food, this can be an additional supplement to families who fit the criteria and need this," she said.

She also urged city residents to contribute to the program "because it is an investment in the young people."

"The kids represent the precious jewel of our city," Dixon said. " Having to wake up and to be hungry before starting school and end your day hungry is difficult to focus and concentrate, and it has an impact on the growth of our young people."

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