Food Bank Offering Meals To Local Children Who Might Not Eat Otherwise

For many children who lined up at Cole Park in Tyler this afternoon, the healthy meal they had for lunch is the only meal they'll get today.

"One in four children are at risk of hunger, and what that means is that kids don't know where their next meal is coming from," explains Robert Bush, who is the executive director of the East Texas Food Bank.

And thanks to the East Texas Food Bank's Summer Relief Program - now, they do. And for parents like Sasha Perkins, it's a huge relief.

"Gas and everything is higher this summer and it really helps all the parents who can't afford food."

The summer program is not only about a free meal, but education: teaching kids to stay active and eat right. "We know that even minor malnutrition impedes human growth development and in the school system, they even talk about disciplinary action and things like that, so what we found out is that nutrition is critical for children to grow and learn," says Bush.

Ruthie Wheeler has seven grandchildren, and says that over the years, she's depended on the free meals. "It takes a village to raise kids, and this is what that is sort of like because when the parents are at work, they don't have to worry about their kids getting a hot lunch."

And by the looks on the children's faces today, they seem to like the summer program, too.

Molly Reuter /