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Summer Feeding Program

PENSACOLA, Fla. - More than 50,000 people in Escambia County are living in Poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Many of them are children who go without when they cant get them at school.

Summer Meal Programs have gotten started this week.

Marcus Ditty with Appetite 4 Life in Pensacola says the need is growing each year.  The organizations Child Nutrition Program for the 6th year. 

The child nutrition program that we operate here in the summer is for the kids that would be in the free and reduced lunch program during the school year, Ditty explained.  By the end of the program we'll be doing approximately 1,500 meals a day through our program, and that's a steady increase and we've more than tripled the past five years.

On Wednesday, program heads served more than 30 sack lunches at Gull Point Resource Center in Pensacola.  On the menu were baloney sandwiches, peaches, carrots and fat free chocolate milk. Organizers expect to serve more than 50,000 free lunches by the end of the summer.

Ditty says the city and other groups find the children that need the meals, and Appetite 4 Life provides the food.

When school is not in, they may not know where their meal is coming from, he said. Whether it be because they work or don't have the means, some of the kids' parents rely solely on the school programs to provide lunch.

Although the meals are aimed at kids who normally get free or reduced lunches during the school year, Ditty says they will feed any child that needs a nutritious lunch.

For example, 8-year-old Ava Brown was at the Gull Resource Center on Wednesday and took advantage of the lunch provided by Appetite 4 Life.

the child nutrition program that we operate here in the summer, is for the kids that would be in the free and reduced lunch program during the school year but

My mom only packed me a few things so I had to get one of these lunches and they're really good, Brown said.

Lea Hunt, 11, says that she preferred it over the lunchable she packed for lunch.  She says shes been eating the provided lunches since Monday.

We just started it this week, and Ive had it every day so far.

Its one of those things where you never know what mom and dad packed them for lunch, Ditty said. Nutrition is super for kids a lunchable is not that nutritious, but its easy and cheap for parents to throw it in a bag and send them of to day care or day camp.

Ditty says their organization provides breakfast and lunch, or lunch and  a snack to each child signed up for the Child Nutrition Program.

The program will end Aug. 15.

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