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Fighting Hunger This Summer In Colorado

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Several programs that provide free lunches over the summer to kids from low-income families are expanding their services. 

In northern Colorado, the Food Bank for Larimer County is adding three sites to its "Kids Café" summer meal program.

"As child poverty rates continue to climb in Larimer County, the Food Bank has worked to expand our programs to meet the need," says Kristin Bieri, Programs Director for the food bank. "Our Kids Cafe Summer Meal Program has grown from five sites in 2005 to twelve sites this summer."

Nearly one in three Larimer County students qualifies for free or reduced-price lunch. The Food Bank for Larimer County says it expects to serve almost 1,000 breakfasts, lunches and snacks each day this summer.

A program conducted by Hunger-Free Colorado and the Food Bank of the Rockies will add 16 sites to its 70 existing sites.

"For families with small children who are struggling to put food on the table during the school year a lot of these kids are able to get a free or reduced lunch -- and then that lunch goes away," says Janie Gianotsos with the Food Bank of the Rockies. "And in the summer they’re faced not only with trying to find a way to feed their children but also day care expenses and other things that go on in the summer."

Gianotsos tells Colorado Public Radio the program will help more than 5,000 children in Colorado this summer. Donations and funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture pay for the program, which operates Monday through Friday.

As host of KUNC's Colorado Edition, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. And because life is best when it's a balance of work and play, I love finding stories that highlight culture, music, the outdoors, and anything that makes Colorado such a great place to live.
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