While their classmates are swimming and playing outdoors during summer vacation, 96,000 Nebraska children will be worrying about finding their next meal. The summer months are especially difficult for children at-risk for hunger and their families, as only 10 percent of children eligible for free or reduced school lunches, has access to regular meals when school is out of session.
To combat the epidemic of childhood hunger in Nebraska, The Omaha Salvation Army, Food Bank for the Heartland and Hunger Free Heartland are collaborating again this summer for the Kids Cruisin’ Kitchen program (KCK).
In its fourth year, KCK brings hot, nutritious meals free of charge to the places where children live and play such as pools, parks, libraries and apartment complexes. Children 18 years of age and under are eligible for meals. ConAgra Foods generously funded two new food trucks for KCK to increase the number of meals served this summer. The goal for 2014 is 25,000 children’s meals.
KCK added two new locations this year, the Ralston Library and Chandler Point Apartments in Bellevue. KCK will be distributing meals to sites in the Omaha metro area. Mutual
of Omaha employees are donating more than 1,200 volunteer hours to
assist in the distribution of the meals.
Children who do not eat regular nutritious meals can suffer long-term effects, both academically and in growth and development. Hunger can increase a child’s risk for illness, obesity and other health problems.