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Program in Pittsburgh area offers kids free meals during the summer

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank's Summer Youth Cafés
Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank's Summer Youth Cafés 01:55

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank has launched its Summer Youth Café program

The program makes sure kids have access to healthy meals for free during the summer. 

The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank says about one in six kids in the area is dealing with food insecurity. A lot of these kids get their breakfast and lunch at school during the school year. But what about when school's out? That is when the Summer Youth Cafés come in.

"We have about 70, 75 kids every day who we feed," said James Barry, director of the LaRosa Youth Club.

Barry said the club provides more than 30,000 meals to the kids, and he said it could not happen without the Summer Youth Café program. 

"The Summer Food Café makes a huge impact here at the LaRosa Youth Club," Barry said. "Otherwise, many of our kids wouldn't eat throughout the summer."

The food bank said there are 150 Summer Youth Café sites throughout the area where any kid 18 years and younger can receive free breakfast and lunch, plus a lot more. 

"We really strive to ensure Summer Youth Café sites feel like fun," said Kelsey Gross of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. "Kids are often coming to our sites and doing fun things while they're there."

The program started in 2018. Food bank officials say in the last few years, the number of kids taking advantage of the program has dropped slightly, not because the needs dropped as much as not enough people know about the program. 

"Everyone here is ready to help," Barry said.

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