By Reg Chapman

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — One in seven kids in Minnesota faces hunger. Now there’s an effort to make sure no child goes hungry during the summer months.

Second Harvest Heartland is partnering with school districts and nonprofit organizations across the state to ensure summertime is not a hungry time for kids.

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Summer is when kids should focus on being kids and not be concerned about where their next meal is coming from.

That’s why the “More than a Meal” summer food service program is keeping kids fed and thriving in the hot summer months.

“More than 40% of students in kindergarten through high school are eligible for free and reduced price lunch at school,” said JoAnna Lund. “Free and reduced price breakfast, lunch, meals throughout the day. So when school is not in session, this summer meals program helps to fill that gap.”

When there is no school that means no school breakfast, lunch or snack and for some school aged children, those meals at school may be all they eat for the day.

That’s why there are 1,300 free summer meal sites to meet that need across the state, including one at the Salvation Army on Payne Avenue in St. Paul.

(credit: CBS)

“We serve a lot of people in an hour, especially on our famous taco Tuesday, we serve up to 300 people,” said Lorri Brown.

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Free snacks and hot meals are available for kids 18 and under. No need to sign up, just find one of the locations and grab some food.

“We follow it around and find out where it’s going to be and where we’re going to be. The kids love it, it’s good. It’s good to have hot lunch,” said Anna Buress.

For parents on the go, this program provides a hot meal after swimming lessons or hanging out in the park. It also encourages young people to get outside.

“It also brings us to the parks and places where it’s at, too, so that’s fun. Get out and be in those places,” Buress said.

The More Than a Meal summer food program is focused on the whole child, making sure hunger does not stop summer fun.

Second Harvest Heartland, YES Network and Minneapolis Public Schools are just a few of the partners working together to make sure no child goes hungry this summer.

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Click here for a list of free lunch sites.

Reg Chapman