Tammy Mutasa, NBC 5 Garland Reporter
The City of Garland will provide children who might not have breakfast or lunch over the summer with meals they would normally get from the school district when school is in session.
Garland is keeping the thousands of children who count on school breakfast and lunch fed during the summer.
The Garland Summer Nutrition Program, which provides fee, nutritious meals to those 18 and younger, has begun at 28 locations around the city.
"We have a moral obligation to address childhood hunger, and this is our way of doing that," said Jose Alvarado with the city. "We've heard anecdotally stories that children have gone to sleep hungry, come to the program hungry [and] have told us this is their only meal for the day."
Tanisha Golsby, a parent, said she knows some families are forced to make difficult choices when school is out because putting food on the table can shrink already-tight budgets.
"It saves us a ton of money because with the kids being home all day now, they want to eat all day, so it's going to save us a bunch of money," she said.
The Garland Summer Nutrition Program works with churches, nonprofit organizations, parks and recreation centers to daily feed 1,700 kids at no charge.
"The food is good," said student Darius Wilson. "It helps kids to grow up big, strong and healthy."
The city program started 18 years ago with five locations, but demand has grown to 28 locations. Garland partners with Texas Department of Agriculture to fund the program.
Most service sites offer activities designed for recreation and activities. With every meal served, city leaders are also emphasizing the "three E's" -- eating right, exercising and education.
"I think it's awesome," Golsby said. "It's awesome that the city of Garland is doing this, because not all cities do this."
The Garland school district serves free lunch at its summer school locations.
The Garland Summer Nutrition Program runs until Aug. 9.