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Summer program provides 2.5 million free meals for kids

Today free summer lunch programs kicked off across Northeast Wisconsin.
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) - Today free summer lunch programs kicked off across Northeast Wisconsin.

It is a response to the growing number of kids getting free and reduced lunch at school.

Roughly 4,000 kids are served, Monday through Friday, in Green Bay.

"Some parents cannot afford to buy the proper food for their children, like carrots, chocolates milk, pretzels. It is like a treat and also nutrition for the children" says longtime Green Bay resident Earley Easterling.

In Green Bay, roughly 60 percent of students receive free or reduced lunch.

"During the school year, they are in school but in summer time if we did not have this program they would not be able to have these meals" explains Kathy Walker Food Service Director for the district.

Any child under 18 can come to one of 35 sites in Green Bay for a free lunch.

There is no special sign up and no qualifications to meet.

"There was cranberries in my lunch, I really like cranberries. There was carrots and I really like carrots" says seven year old Aaron.

The program is funded by the US Department of Agriculture and meets nutrition guidelines.

"They have different regulations on calories, how much saturated fat" Walker explains.

"You get to eat healthier and spend time with your friends" says 13 year old Patricia.

The right food, to fuel these kids for a summer of fun.

"So you have enough energy, so you do not get weak and do not get tired while you are playing" Aaron says with a smile.

There are more than 750 sites around the state serving free lunch for kids. Last summer roughly 2.5 million meals were served.

Click here for a map of locations.

For information on Green Bay's sites click here.

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