Feeding children during Spring Break

Published On: Mar 17 2014 06:26:21 AM CDT   Updated On: Mar 17 2014 12:14:11 PM CDT

Spring Break is in full swing in Wichita. While that means a week or so off of school for all kids, it can also mean missing out on school lunches. About 77 percent of students in USD 259 are on free or reduced lunches and about 24 percent are considered "food insecure".

"With spring break, we know that is a gap time when those kids may not have access to a meal," said Debi Kreutzman, Community Relations Manager for the Kansas Food Bank.

Partners for Wichita and the Kansas Food Bank are working to make sure kids don't go hungry. Their "Filling the Gap - Lunches for Kids" program runs all week.

"We provide a shelf stable kid friendly meal that is food that kids like, it's easy to open and eat," she explained. "It's something that they can just pop open, it doesn't require any preparation."

Organizers are also supplementing those meals with fresh fruits like bananas and clementines as well as additional snacks donated by the community.

"A lot of our kids don't have access to fresh items, so we have made the decision that we wanted to add fresh fruit to this to give them something that's a little bit more health," said Kreutzman.

Organizers expect to serve 5,000 meals at 16 locations across Wichita. About 150 extra volunteers signed up to help serve those meals during the week. Jane Frederick has been volunteering for years and she told Eyewitness News it's rewarding to know you're helping fill a need for children and maybe also making their day at the same time.

"When kids see the snacks that they sometimes don't get at home and they're just like, 'we get to have one of these?' and we're like yeah you get to have three of anything," said Frederick. "So it's exciting to see them go home with a big sack full of food."

It costs the food bank about $2.50 to serve one meal to a child, so monetary donations are also always welcome. Those can be mailed to the food bank or dropped off in person at 1919 E. Douglas in Wichita.

Meals are available between noon and 1:00 pm at the locations listed here: Map of Lunch Locations