NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Millions of children nationwide depend on free or reduced lunch during the school year and now a local program will make sure that hundreds of these children living in the Lowcountry will get to eat this summer.
"All the kids that come to freedom school are low income children living in distressed communities. They are kids that have tremendous capacity themselves, but kids that sometimes don't get good opportunities," Rev. Bill Stanfield said.
Stanfield runs the "Freedom School" summer program through the non-profit Metanoia in North Charleston. He says children going hungry are an unfortunate reality in the community.
Thankfully the non-profit group formed a partnership with the Lowcountry Food Bank's "Kids Cafe" program, which will provide needy children throughout the Lowcountry with breakfast and lunch all summer long.
"Since they are not attending school, they are in need even more than ever. One in four kids in the Lowcountry do need meals and we're really fortunate that we get the opportunity to get to serve them in some capacity," Chef Kim Ortego Kuver said.
The feeding program at the food bank will provide more than 30,000 meals for children all summer long, and they'll be nutritious meals includes fruits, veggies, and meat.
Chefs and volunteers prepare enough food to be provided for six "Kids Cafe" sites in the area, feeding more than 400 children daily. The food bank pays for the meals with donations, fundraising, and grant money, helping make a difference for young people like those who are part of Metanoia's summer Freedom School.
"Having good meals in the mornings, having good meals at lunch time builds on the capacity of us to do the other work that is so important to our kids, which is teaching them great reading skills, social interaction skills, and these kinds of things," Stanfield said.
The food bank's "Kids Café" program starts June 6th and will continue until August 12th. Partner agencies will come to the food bank every morning to pick up the food and feed children at various sites throughout Charleston and North Charleston.
This is the first year the food bank has been able to prepare meals on site at their Zucker Family Production Kitchen for the summer feeding program. For more information on "Kids Café" call the Lowcountry Food Bank at (843) 747-8146.