East Texas Food Bank kicks off free summer meal program - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

East Texas Food Bank kicks off free summer meal program

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TYLER (KYTX) - Thousands of East Texas children won't go hungry this summer, fed by a free breakfast and lunch program offered now that the school year is over. CBS 19's Abby Broyles explains how the East Texas Food Bank plans to keep children fed.

It wasn't just another day at the park. These kids have came ready to play - and ready to eat.

6-year old Julissa Lara says, "It looked good, and I like coming here to the park."

She's excited she got her favorite flavor of milk: chocolate. 

Dozens of volunteers from the East Texas Food Bank arrived ready to pass out the first free lunch of the summer. When the school year ended, so did school breakfast and lunch programs that feed thousands of kids at school. That's why the East Texas Food Bank is working to fill the hunger gap.

"What we're trying to do is substitute a service program so that they can still have a nutritious breakfast and lunch while they're out of school," East Texas Food Bank Executive Director Dennis Cullinane said.

In less than an hour, volunteers gave out more than 150 meals. They served chicken and green beans for lunch today, but that will rotate every week. Volunteers expect to serve more than 100,000 meals throughout the summer.

11-year-old Jose Gonzales knows that eating a nutritious lunch is important.

He says, "You have to have a healthy body to be fit."

And it tastes good. The food bank now has 48 distribution sites throughout East Texas.

"We try to make the sites as easy to access as possible, where the kids can have fun," Cullinane said.

So that kids like Julissa can enjoy a fun day at the park

"I like to slide on the slide," she says.

And she can get the nutrition she needs all summer long.

You don't have to register to get a free meal, kids just have to show up. Meals are served at each location at least two days per week. To find a complete list of distribution sites, visit www.easttexasfoodbank.org.

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