Hunger heats up for Caldwell County kids
By LPR Staff
The dull gnaw in the gut as hunger takes over.
It’s a feeling too many Caldwell County children know all too well.
According to representatives from Sodexo, the food service management company for the Lockhart Independent School District, more than 5,200 meals were served during the month of June under
the Summer Food Service program, sponsored in part by the United States Department of Agriculture.
“We find, during the summer, that we have families that come in asking for extra, because their food has run out, or they’re waiting for their WIC or their food stamps,” said Rose Dunn of the Caldwell County Christian Ministries Food Pantry. “We are an emergency food pantry, so we can only distribute to families once a month, but we have requests during the summer for a second basket, because the children are home…”
The summer nutrition program seeks to bridge that gap, acknowledging that many children in Lockhart rely on the free-and-reduced breakfast and lunch programs during the school year as, possibly, the only nutritious meals the children receive.
“The students attending summer school and summer camp at the elementary schools and junior high [are also] participating in the meals,” said Sodexo’s Anna Martin. “Our open site at the library is feeding on the average of 100 meals a day.”
Clara Smith, the Food Distribution Chair for the Caldwell County Extension Education Association, said she does not see a significant rise during the summer, as her group distributes food quarterly to those in need.
“Luling has improved the services at their food bank, and the food bank in Lockhart is increasing their services,” she said. “But we still provide food for around 300 families in Caldwell County.”
A recent study by Hunger In America revealed that more than 84 percent of Texas households are “food insecure,” meaning that families do not have consistent access to enough food to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle. Often, the brunt of that food insecurity falls on children.
Local churches report that often, children are enrolled in their Vacation Bible School programs, not necessarily to learn the lessons offered during the “camps,” but rather because those programs usually provide either a lunch or dinner, and snacks to the children.
“We need more involvement,” Dunn said. “This is a great community, and we have steady donations, but what we really need is more people to get involved to volunteer, with helping to deliver the food… things like that.”
For the remainder of the summer, LISD will continue to offer the Summer Feeding Program, offering free meals to children ages 1 – 18.
The kitchen at Lockhart Junior High School will be open from 8 – 9 a.m. for breakfast, and from 11 a.m. – noon, daily until July 17. They will reopen from Aug. 3 – 7.
At Bluebonnet Elementary, breakfast and lunch will be served, again from 8 – 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. – noon, from July 20 – 31.
The Dr. Eugene Clark Library will serve lunch daily from 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. from July 6 – Aug. 7.
The Caldwell County Christian Ministries Food Pantry is an available emergency service, located at 901 B Bois D’Arc, at the rear of the “old Lockhart hospital.”
The TEEA’s next food distribution will be held on Aug. 17, 2015. Follow future issues of the Post-Register for information on dates and times for the food distribution.