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Meeting Increased Demand for Summer Food

May 16, 2017 09:11 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- Food shelves around the area are a little more full today than they were just a few days ago.

While filling food shelves is always important, some say it's especially important right now.

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"Unfortunately what we don't have we can't distribute," said Stacy Wisemore at the Austin Salvation Army.

When it comes to food, summer is a time of supply and demand.

"When school is out of session for the summer we are assisting more families, more family members because the children are home for the summer, they're not in school, they're not getting the meals in school," Wisemore explained.

But thanks donations to last weekend's "Stamp Out Hunger" food drive, there are fewer bare spots at the Austin Salvation Army food shelf.

"A little over 19,000 pounds of food, which is wonderful," Wisemore told ABC 6.  "So this helps us so that we don't run out of the nutritious food we supply to the families."

Meeting demand is also what drives the Austin school district's summer nutrition program, which begins on the first Monday of summer vacation.

"We're concerned about students who qualify for free and reduced lunch during the school year. What happens during the summer when that nutritional source is kind of done for them," said Austin Public Schools Food Service Director Mary Weikum.

Nearly 60% of students in the Austin school district qualify for free or reduced price meals.  Weikum says the school served between 30,000 and 40,000 free or reduced meals last year, which the school is federally reimbursed for.

"We do offer five meal components, just like during the school year--grain , protein, fruit, vegetable and milk," Weikum said. "Our goal number one is to keep our students well-nourished  in the summer so that September, when they come back to school they're ready to learn."

Saturday’s letter carrier “Stamp Out Hunger campaign saw big numbers around the region.

In Albert Lea, letter carriers picked up a record 19,000 pounds of food.

In Mason City, more than 19,000 pounds as well.

In Rochester, Channel One expects donations to be somewhere around 43,000 pounds when everything is turned in.


Credits

Dan Conradt

Copyright 2017 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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