SPRINGFIELD, MO - Many students in Greene County are forced to skip meals due to the high poverty rate if they’re not in school. That’s why Springfield Public Schools is the largest provider for free summer meals in the state.
With a little over 10,000 meals served a day Springfield Public Schools are gearing up for their summer meal program. Amy Gibbons, the director of nutritional services, with the schools says 54 percent of students have free and reduced lunches.
“If you’re hungry, we know as adults, we call it hangry," says Gibbons. "But just imagine if you’re a child and you can’t express what hunger feels like.”
Gibbons says about 365,000 meals were served last year during the summer meal program. And they’re expecting to feed more students this summer. And knowing that nutritional meals is huge for students in the classroom Gibbons says, "It’s the gateway to learning and allows kids to compete at the same levels.”
The challenge to find meals for kids is a worry to many parents in Springfield and with 24 locations participating finding breakfast and lunch won’t be that hard this summer.
"Anyone in the community, under the age of 18, is allowed to come in to any of our school sites," explains Gibbons. She says not only will they have a safe place to learn but now will have a safe place to find a meal.
The free meal program starts June 5th and will last 40 days. Gibbons says if you want to sign your child up you should call the Springfield Public Schools. For more information click here.