TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - One in five children in Vigo County is food insecure. That means they don't have access to nutritious foods to lead a healthy lifestyle. During the school year, these kids can get a free breakfast and lunch through the school, but what happens when school lets out for the summer?
"Our children do not have the meals during the summer because they aren't receiving that free lunch at school and so it's even more important for them to have a nutritious supper," Jim Edwards, Program director at Ryves Youth Center.
Ryves Youth Center is just one of the places that offer a free summer meal program to kids in Vigo County.
Edwards said almost all of the kids at the center benefit from free lunches during the school year. That's why they step up during the summer.
"I think people don't recognize how important it is for children, especially young children, to have nutritious access to nutritious food throughout the entire year," Jennifer Buell, Development Director of Catholic Charities said. "Because we may go a day and choose to maybe skip a meal or two but sadly the majority of the children here who participate at Ryves Youth Center it's not a choice."
Buell said she doesn't think people realize the severity of the situation in Vigo county or how much these kids need nutritious meals.
"The summer food service program is so important for those children to have access to those nutritious meals every day throughout the year so that way they can grow and remain healthy and be ready to start the school year focused and ready to learn."
Vigo County schools will also have certain times throughout the summer where kids can get free meals.
Ryves youth center summer food program will kick off this Friday.
Both programs are open to any child in the county.
Catholic Charities and the Youth Center both said they could use donations and volunteers to help with their summer meal program. To help, you can go to their website, here or call them at 812-232-1447.