USDA expand free summer youth food program

June 16, 2011

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The federal government is expanding a summer food program in Chicago neighborhoods with a high percentage of low-income youth.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has more than one thousand Chicago sites for youth to get free meals.

Undersecretary Kevin Concannon says it’s more likely for a child to go hungry in the summer.

"You say,’ how can this be?’ Well, the principle reason for that is school is out," Concannon said.

In Chicago, 84 percent of children are eligible the free or reduced lunch program in schools.

"We know that if kids go through the summer, they don’t have good nutrition. When they get back to school in the fall, teachers, schools nurses and others say, ‘hey, these kids are struggling. They aren’t going to learn as well,’" Concannon said.

This year many of the summer food service program sites are clustered in communities where students receiving free or reduced lunches are concentrated.

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