United Way Hosting Summer Meal Summit Today

By Heather Hubbs, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa-- There are 13,000 children in Linn County who qualify for free or reduced price lunch at school. Many of those same children also eat breakfast at school. But where and what are these children eating when schools out for the summer? Community organizations are looking for help to answer that question.

United Way of East Central Iowa is partnering with a number of community organizations to host the Summer Meals Summit Tuesday. They want to figure out how to feed more children in need when school isn't in session.

Right now. The Summer Food Service Program, which has eight sites in Linn County, is only feeding 800 of the 13,000 kids who qualify for free or reduced price lunch.

The Summer Food Service Program is reimbursed by the federal government, so funding expansion isn't an issue, figuring out how to get kids in the door is. That's where they need the community's input.

"We're going to have people identify potential sites and talk about pros and cons of the sites so we can get an idea of how to expand," said Dave Loy, Manager of Community Building at United Way of East Central Iowa.

Loy says United Way doesn't have a target number of sites they would like to expand to. They tell us changes could start happening as early as this summer and continue into 2015 and beyond.

The Summer Meal Summit is from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at St. Wenceslaus Church in Cedar Rapids. The public is invited to attend. Kevin Concannon, an Undersecretary at the USDA, will be speaking at today's summit.
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