Rockford kids eating lunch during the summer with meal programs

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ROCKFORD Ill. (WIFR) -- For some students, the end of school means the end of at least two square meals a day. But thanks to the Summer Meals Program in Illinois kids don’t have to go hungry.

“The lunch is good like we have peanut butter and jelly and sandwiches and they are very delicious,” said Arieolle Tilson, a summer meal program participant.

Tilson is one of about 80 kids who eat lunch at the Northwest Community Center every day in the summer.

“If we wasn't here we would probably be at home doing something and being bored,” said Tilson.

This program has been so successful that they turned this location into a summer camp.

“It teaches the kids how to get along better with each other and it keeps them active which is our main goal really keep them active and keep them safe,” said program volunteer Danyell Barickman.

A lot of kids come from low-income areas. Program coordinator Christopher Greenwood feels the meals and the camp can change kids’ lives.

“This is probably one of the best programs we are able to run because we know that food insecurity is really big in the Winnebago and Boone counties,” said Greenwood.

This program is what is keeping a lot of these kids healthy.

“Without this, they would possibly go without lunch or even a real meal for the entire summer," said Barickman.

Statics show that having a nutritious meal in the summer can help kids when they go back to school.

"Kids who do not receive adequate nutrition through the summertime are less likely to be ready to learn when they go back to school because we know when you’re hungry you can’t think about what the teacher is talking about all you can think about is your hunger,” said Greenwood.

With this program, kids are able to enjoy their summer and be ready to start school the next year. To find a location near you, click here or you can text FOODIL To 877877.