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Food secure: Program feeds kids while school is out

For some kids, the end of the school year means they may not get regular meals.

To keep children from being food insecure, the Ironton-Lawrence County Area Community Action Organization is having its annual summer food program for kids, ages 1-18. It is also open to students over 18, if they are attending an educational program and they have a disability.

The free summer food program began on Monday and runs until Aug. 9. There are 10 locations across Lawrence County.

“The only day we are closed is July 4,” said explained Jonathan Abner, the WIOA coordinator for the CAO.

Abner said there many of the children already receive free or reduced lunch during the school year.

“So when that stops in the summer, that can have a large impact. There is a lot of food insecurity in our county because of various issues, whether that is poverty or the opioid crisis that affects so many families,” he said. “So this program provides free, nutritious meals to the children through the summer months. Otherwise, some families wouldn’t have the means to provide for their children.”

Last year, the CAO served over 12,000 meals during the summer months.

Abner said the meals are the same as the ones schools serve. And each Friday, kids that register can get food to take home over the weekend.

“It provides six shelf stable meals that would last the weekend, they are child friendly,” he said. “And on Fridays, we also provide fresh produce with the weekend meal program.”

The locations are open Monday through Friday and include: Ironton Middle School, breakfast from 9-10 a.m. and lunch from noon-1 p.m.; Ironton High School 12:30-1:30 p.m.; Ironton Metro Housing noon-1 p.m.; Rock Hill Schools 11 a.m.-noon; Storms Creek Apartments 1-2 p.m.; Lawrence Village Apartments 1-2 p.m.; Lawrence Common Apartments 12:30-1:30 p.m.; Burlington Park noon-1 p.m.; Chesapeake United Methodist Church, 12:30-1:30 p.m.; and Proctorville Library 1-2 p.m.

All the locations will serve lunch and Ironton Middle School will be the only location to serve breakfast.

To find out the nearest location for the free summer lunch program, text Food to 877877.