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Organization Feeds Sixteen Thousand Kids in Southwest Missouri


The Ozarks Food Harvest has expanded its Summer Feeding Program, ensuring more hungry kids can get hot meals. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

HUNGRY KIDS IN SPRINGFIELD, JOPLIN AND WEBB CITY HAVE A PLACE TO GO FOR BREAKFAST AND LUNCH THIS SUMMER.

OZARKS FOOD HARVEST HAS EXPANDED ITS SUMMER FEEDING PROGRAM THIS YEAR AND AS A RESULT, THEY'RE SERVING 16 THOUSAND KIDS, DOUBLE THE NUMBER FED LAST YEAR.

JODI PERKINS IS THE NUTRITION PROGRAM COORDINATOR WITH OZARKS FOOD HARVEST.

SHE CREDITS PUBLICITY WITH THE INCREASING PARTICIPATION IN THE SUMMER FEEDING PROGRAM.

IT MAY BE HARD FOR SOME PEOPLE TO BELIEVE THAT CHILDREN GO HUNGRY RIGHT HERE IN SOUTHWEST MISSOURI.

BUT PERKINS SAYS WITHOUT THE SUMMER FEEDING PROGRAMS IN SOUTHWEST MISSOURI, MANY CHILDREN WOULDN'T GET FED.

PERKINS SAYS THE SUMMER FEEDING PROGRAM RECEIVES FUNDING FROM A VARIETY OF SOURCES.

THE SUMMER FEEDING PROGRAM IS AVAILABLE TO ANYONE, NOT JUST LOW-INCOME FAMILIES.

AND FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS YEAR, WHEN CHILDREN COME TO THE ONE OF THE THREE FEEDING SITES, THEY GET MORE THAN A HOT MEAL.

PERKINS SAYS THEY ALSO GET CLASSES ON NUTRITION.

PERKINS SAYS SHE RECENTLY DISCOVERED DURING ONE OF THE CLASSES HOW LITTLE PRE-TEENS KNOW ABOUT HOW MUCH FOOD THEY SHOULD BE EATING TO STAY HEALTHY.

A RECENT SURVEY FROM THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR EDUCATIONAL STATISTICS FOUND TAHT 88 PERCENT OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHERS COVER NUTRITION TOPICS BUT ONLY FOR AN AVERAGE OF 13 HOURS PER SCHOOL YEAR.

PERKINS SAYS THAT'S NOT SURPRISING GIVEN THE DEMANDS ON CLASSROOM TEACHERS.

THE SUMMER FOOD PROGRAM RUNS THROUGH AUGUST 20TH.

INFORMATION ON THE PROGRAM IS AVAILABLE FROM THE OZARKS FOOD HARVEST AT 417-865-3411.