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Program provides summer meals for needy keiki

By Staff | Jun 23, 2011

More than 10,000 children in Maui County receive free or reduced-price meals during the school year.

Many of these students do not get enough to eat when school is out.

This year, the county Department of Parks and Recreation’s PALS Program wants to make sure that no children go hungry now that school is closed for the summer.

The solution is the Summer Food Service Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It’s the largest federal resource available for local programs that combine meal time with recreational and educational activities.

“Many of our children, who rely on school breakfast and lunch during the school year, do not have the energy they need during the summer. That’s where we come in, by providing nutritious meals and activities to keep children nourished and engaged,” said Karen N. Deguilmo, also known as “Aunty Ti.”

“Our responsibility to children doesn’t end when school lets out. Children who get enough to eat and have safe activities to participate in during the summer are less likely to get into mischief and trouble. Our summer breakfast and snack meals program is a building block in the community for healthy, happy children who are ready to make learning fun.”

Countywide, only 9 percent of the 10,000 children who qualify have access to local Summer Food Sites. There were 11 sites across the county in 2010, but only 948 children participated.

The county will offer the same number of sites and serve more than 1,525 children this summer.

Meals are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. For full information on the program, call Deguilmo at 270-7403.

No child in Maui County should go hungry. Credit the county for expanding this program.