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Volunteers Spread The Word About Summer Meals In Chicago

(CBS) -- Volunteers from the Greater Chicago Food Depository and COFI (Community Organizing and Family Issues) go door-to-door to let residents in the Lawndale neighborhood know about summer meals.

"One of the things we found that is a barrier to summer meals is awareness," said Paul Morello, public relations manager for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. "Only 14 percent of the kids who are eligible for summer meals are actually receiving those meals."


Thousands of children qualify for free meals during the school year but during the summer, it can be a challenge for families.

"The fact that they're getting these meals during the school year, it's a significant expense to then provide breakfast and lunch and for a family that is just on the line to make ends meet, sometimes during the summer, providing those extra meals is really difficult."

The Lunch Bus soon arrives in front of Good Shepherd Parish, at 28th & Kolin. A line quickly forms down the block. 130 children are served turkey sandwiches, fruit and milk.

"I appreciate what they do for the children. They feed my two sons. It's really health food so they enjoy it." said Rocio Raygoza, who brings her two sons to the bus.

Volunteers go door-to-door to let Lawndale residents know about summer meals. (Credit: Lisa Fielding)

The Lunch Bus program has been around since 2010. It makes 21 stops and serves 1,000 meals a day during the summer.

"In Cook County alone, 255,000 kids who are at risk of hunger," Morello said. "That's one out of every five. It's about raising awareness and getting meals to those kids."

Volunteers will continue going door to door in high need communities handing out flyers and door hangers that help raise awareness for summer meals.

The Food Depository hosts nearly 300 summer meal sites throughout Cook County, including the Lunch Bus and Kids Cafe, where children can receive free, nutritious meals.

The Food Depository expects to distribute more than 400,000 meals this summer.

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