Schools: summer means more hungry kids

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Reporter - Lauren Adams
Photojournalist - Barry Stevenson

MARSHALL COUNTY, Ky. - At Benton Elementary more than half of the students depend on free or reduced lunches. Melissa Elrod, with the school's Family Resource Center, says with summer approaching that is ten more meals parents will have to pay for each week.

"A lot of times parents will have to choose whether to buy food or pay the electric bill," she admitted.

That is why she is continuing a program this summer that sends home basics for kids on the weekends. But grant dollars are limited so churches are stepping up to fill the gaps. So to is Marcella Perkins with Marcella's Kitchen.

"It's just a need. I feel like there's no reason why this kitchen can't make peanut butter & jelly sandwiches every week, there's just no reason," she said of volunteering.

Elrod says she will deliver those sandwiches and church casseroles when she delivers those brown paper bagged basics.

"Nobody should have to go hungry," she said, adding, "When you think of a little one who shouldn't have a care in the world you don't want to think about them not having enough food to eat."

Elrod's program is funded by state dollars so it is not in jeopardy under the sequester. But because the need has nearly doubled in 5 years, from about 50 students to 94, Elrod said there is simply not enough to go around and that is why community support is so important.

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