Registered: Mar 2008
Posted March 10th, 2010 09:33 AM IP
SALT LAKE CITY -- New numbers from the Utah Food Bank show just how many kids are at risk for going without food. In fact, officials say the demand is unlike anything they've seen before.
KSL News visited Mountain View Elementary School at dinnertime on Tuesday. While the meal may not have been the top pick -- that honor goes to taco or spaghetti night -- the kids gobbled it up.
The dinner is part of a Utah Food Bank Program called Kids' Café. They deliver hot meals four days a week to the school; volunteers and school staff serve the food.
"If it weren't for Kids' Café, some of them wouldn't eat again until the next morning," said Keri Taddie, Learning Center coordinator for Mountain View Elementary.
The demand for the program has increased dramatically. Last year, in January and February, 607 meals were served. During those same months this year, more than 2,800 meals were served -- a 450-plus percent increase.
They also now offer a backpack program for a smaller number of students: easy-to-prepare foods in a backpack to help kids make it through the weekend.
"This past year has been like none other we have ever seen," said Ginette Bott, with the Utah Food Bank.
The food bank and the school believe the reason is twofold: First, more people are learning about Kids' Café; second, more are finding themselves in dire straits as Utah catches up with the rest of the nation as far as unemployment and depleted savings.
We're looking for folks that are usually a family of four, that live at a poverty level, that are struggling to make a decision between rent, food, utilities, medication, doctor bills," Bott said.
The kids not only like the food, they truly appreciate it -- earning those who make it possible, a five-star rating.
Kids' Café isn't just offered at Mountain View Elementary, it's also in several other schools and Boys and Girls Clubs.
To find out how you can donate either money or time to the program, CLICK HERE.
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