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Waterloo Schools Summer Feeding Program continues this year giving thousands of meals each week

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WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) - The Waterloo Schools Summer Feeding Program provides meals to families throughout the summer break for students who might not have easy access to food. During the school year, many students receive breakfast and lunch while at school.

The Summer Feeding Program started back up this summer the week of June 7. Since then, thousands of meals have been handed out to families who come to eat or pick up food.

Organizers say food insecurity in the community is a clear issue, and hope to relieve some of those costs throughout the summer for the children.

"Last week for breakfast alone we served over 3,000 meals, lunch we served close to 6,000," Waterloo Schools Food Service Director Heather Bathen said, "And we're hoping as the summer goes on those numbers don't drop and they will increase with word of mouth."

Each Thursday through August 12 families can get five breakfast and five lunch meals per child. Families can drive up to the back dock at Waterloo East High School from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Since the start of the program in 1981, the Summer Feeding Program has changed each year. Due to the pandemic, last year the program was done all drive-thru style instead of eating together in-person.

"This year it's just a lot easier for families," Bathen said, "I mean, they don't have to come to waterloo schools, they can be any child, under 18, in the community that would like a meal."

First Baptist Church in Waterloo is also a part of the Summer Feeding Program, serving breakfast Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-9 a.m. and lunch from 12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. This location does require the children to eat on-site. Food will be served until July 9 and closed on July 5 for the Independence Day holiday.

Between the two food times, First Baptist is also offering a summer camp program called Friend in Fun & Fellowship where children who have finished kindergarten up to fifth graders can attend at no cost. This program also runs until July 9 and closed on July 5 for the Independence Day holiday.

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Diego Hernandez

Multimedia Journalist

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