CRAVEN COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - In North Carolina, one in every five children deals with food insecurities. During the upcoming summer vacation, an already tight family budget can get stretched even further without meals they utilize during the school year.
This is the last week of the school year in Craven County and for parents who rely on their child's school for breakfast and lunch, the last bell is getting all too close.
Craven County Schools is reminding parents of a free summer lunch program that's helping keep bellies full.
A federal USDA grant has allowed the school system and thousands of other schools to offer free summer lunch programs for every child from ages one all the way up to 18.
Nutritional staff in Craven County say this program is greatly needed. More than half of the student population relies on free or reduced school lunches during the school year and say they want to make sure every child is getting the proper nutrients they need to succeed.
"We want to make sure that they are ready when they come back to school and be able to study and pay attention, so we gotta keep the nourishment going, we only provide lunches, but at least that's a meal that we know they will be able to have available to them if they want to come out," says Gretchen Wilson, the school nutrition director.
There is no registration required. The summer lunch program begins June 25th and runs Monday through Thursday starting at 11 a.m.
Nutrition staff say the meals are on a first come, first served basis until they run out.
There are two locations for students to come to for the free meals: Trent Park Elementary School and Havelock High School.
Officials with the school system say they are hoping to expand the program to even more locations in the next few years.
Craven County is not the only school offering summer meals. NoKidHungryNC.org has a list of the more than 3,000 schools in our state that offer free summer lunch programs for all school-aged children.