Bridging the hunger gap

Bridging the Summer hunger gaps.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- One in five children in Maine is food insecure but in Aroostook County that number is worse. There, it is one in four kids according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The city of Presque Isle is facing a unique hunger challenge but it may have found a solution.

Lunchtime is a chance for kids to socialize and refuel. However, for some, it is the only meal they get all day.

A federal program is in place to provide meals through the summer. However, in Presque Isle, there is a gap.

High Schoolers go back to class in early August because they have off four weeks at the end of September to help with the potato harvest.

The federal lunch program ends then, leaving middle and elementary schoolers without lunch for nearly a month until they go back in September.

“Kids going hungry waiting for school to start is a real problem and it's something people could wrap their minds around,” said Jamie Guerrette, a community health specialist at TAMC.

Both The Aroostook Medical Center and United Way Aroostook have come up with a solution.
The Summer GAP Feeding Program.

“Its really everyone just working together to meet our big goal, its wonderful,” said Sherry Locke, executive director of United Way of Aroostook.

In order to feed 250 kids a day, community members had to help raise ten thousand dollars for the program.
Within a few months they surpassed that goal, proving there is strength in numbers.

“It seems like a big problem but when everyone does a little bit it really allows us to reach the goal and provide food for these children,” said Locke.

Even the local recreation center got in on the action.

By donating its kitchen, dozens of volunteers can prepare and provide food here.
It will then be transported to four other locations for the kids who can't make it to the rec center every day.
Although these two women identified the problem, they say they needed a village to make it happen.

“To allow hundreds of people to be a part of it, has made it a community project like no other,” said Guerrette.

The Summer Feeding Gap Program will be in place in Presque Isle from August 7 until September 2nd, to volunteer or donate, click here. 

© 2017 WLBZ-TV


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