Soup kitchen starts student summer meal program

Iron deficiency, anemia, asthma, and Type 2 diabetes are some of the long-term effects your child could experience if they don’t get enough to eat over several summer breaks, according to the campaign No Kid Hungry.

Soup for the Soul in Murray is starting a summer meal program for students. Through a United Way Grant and bus donation from Taylor Motors, Debbie Smith is providing free meals five days a week at 10 different churches this summer. Kids just need to show up.

Smith says she hopes more children start taking advantage of the summer program.

“This is just a dream to see children that are hungry and also provide them with a book to enjoy after they go home, and I just love hearing the comments of how they enjoy it,” Smith said.

No Kid Hungry says 1,913,135 children in our Local 6 states qualify for free and reduced lunches. Nationwide, during the summer more than 80 percent experience limited access to similar programs, which the campaign says exacerbates existing challenges with food insecurity.

Soup for the Soul takes a bus with packed food during lunchtimes out in Calloway County. Tuesday’s they go to Poplar Spring Baptist Church.

Pastor Ron Ison takes the initiative to pick up kids from home and bring them to the church.

“If it wasn’t for the transportation being involved 30 of these kids probably wouldn’t be here. So, it’s an extra effort, but it’s an extra blessing we are glad to get to do it,” Ison said.

He says going to pick them up is easy, and that the hard part is Smith’s work of getting the lunches and the grant to provide meals.

“The children know that they have food insecurity, and they appreciate it so much, even though it is just a small amount. But it helps,” Smith said.

No Kid Hungry says short-term benefits of programs like Smiths include preventing summer weight gain, summer learning loss, and cognitive decline for children in low-income families. A strong nutritional foundation is crucial to proper brain development and maintaining normal brain function, according to No Kid Hungry.

No Kid Hungry goes on to say that: “Long term, it may help increase high school graduation rates and reduce susceptibility to chronic diseases, which are otherwise each accompanied by large potential costs to the children and their communities”.

To find out more about Soup for the Soul’s summer program you can call 270-759-0800 or check out their Facebook Page by clicking here.

To find a summer meal near you, text "food" to 877-877.

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