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Program seeks to fill meal gap while students out of school

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Indy Parks, area schools and churches are taking part in the Summer Servings program, which offers free meals to children while school isn’t in session.

“We know how many students during our school year depend on us for breakfast and lunch and so we’re concerned that those children especially have access to food during the summer, so we’re excited the Summer Servings program will be offering breakfast and lunch at a number of sites throughout the summer,” said John Althardt, spokesperson for Indianapolis Public Schools.

There are more than 200 serving sites in Marion County. The only requirement is that students be 18 years old or younger.

“The Summer Servings program provides free, nutritious meals for children during their summer vacation, all summer long,” said Maureen Faul with Indy Parks.

According to the most recent hunger study from Feeding America, more than 20 percent of children in Marion County are considered food insecure, meaning they’re not sure where their next meal will come from.

“Hunger is a huge problem and it’s something I think a lot of people just aren’t aware of,” said Faul. “We have great supporters in our community who make food available to children and adults, but make no mistake about it, hunger is a real issue. It’s a real issue during the school year and that’s why we’re so concerned and we want everyone to be aware of the Summer Servings program during the summer months.”

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and students from IPS School 27 will officially launch this year’s program and Martin Luther King Jr. Park at 17th and Broadway streets at 10 a.m. Monday.

You can find a Summer Servings location near you by calling 211 or visiting summerservings.org.