Texas leads the nation in child hunger and the numbers are staggering. More than 2.5 million children in Texas eat free breakfast and lunch during the school year. But last summer, only nine percent of those kids participated in a summer meal program.
That is why several organizations are stepping up to the plate to help. Central Dallas Ministries, PepsiCo and the North Texas Food Bank are partnering this summer by providing mobile units. "Food on the Move" sends ten trucks to ten low-income areas every day of the summer. Hundreds of kids line up for breakfast and lunch.
Jeremy Everett, with Baylor University's School of Social Work is heading up the, the Texas Hunger Initiative. He said the mobile units are a brilliant idea. "Transportation is probably our number one barrier in the state of Texas right now. Getting kids to the food or food to the kids. They came up with a really creative solution," said Everett.
There are also community centers which feed children for the summer, like the Wesley Rankin Community Center. Here, eighty children a day are fed breakfast, lunch and a snack. Eighteen-year old Moises Resendiz has returned as a volunteer. He spent summers here as a kid and said his family is grateful for the services it has provided over the years.
"I always had something to eat, but I did know kids who sometimes were lost. They didn't know how they would get their next meal," Resendiz said. Ending childhood hunger is the big picture goal. But Resendiz said love and self-esteem building are part of this program, too and he is paying it forward. "By me volunteering, just like the people impacted me to do the same. I just hope to do the same for the kids. They will one day keep repeating the process," Resendiz said.
The goal of Baylor's Texas Hunger Initiative is that each person in Texas will have 3 meals a day, 7 days a week by the year 2015.