Texas Hunger initiative encourages families to take advantage of free summer meals for kids
For the past 30 years the Texas Hunger Initiative, a program of Baylor University has been serving meals to children under 18 during the summer months, no matter their family’s income.
“Summer meals has been around for quite some time,” John Puder, regional manager for child hunger outreach said. “The biggest challenge is still few people know about it not enough kids who need it take advantage of it.”
The Texas Hunger Initiative helps provide summer meals in several cities across the state, such as Houston — including the Lake Houston area — Dallas, Austin, El Paso, Lubbock, McAllen, San Angelo and Waco.
Puder said these sponsors get reimbursed through the United States Department of Agriculture. Sponsors get reimbursed $3 a meal.
“The USDA provides funding through the Texas Department of Agriculture and every reimbursable meal that is served to the children, the sponsor gets reimbursed for the cost of that meal,” Puder said.
Children can get their free meals at schools, churches, parks, or other locations THI has partnered up with.
In Harris County there are more than 400 locations where kids can get a free meal.
There are several locations in the Humble area participating in the THI Summer Meals Program including Park at Humble Apartments, The Crayon Club and Remanente De Fe Mision.
“What the studies have shown is that less 1 in 6 children who get a free meal during the school year are actually getting a summer meal during the summer meals program,” Puder said. “So 5 out of 6 kids who do get their free breakfast and free lunch during the school year do not get a summer meal and that’s what concerns us the most.”
To find a location that serves meals near you call 211, text FOODTX to 877-877 or visit www.squaremeals.org.
The last day for the summer meals program is Aug.20.