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Central Texas summer programs offering free meals for kids

Austin ISD and the Central Texas Food Bank are two of the organizations providing food to kids in need of meals during the summer months.

AUSTIN, Texas — As summer break begins, programs designed to provide free meals for those 18 and under are starting up.

The Austin Independent School District and the Central Texas Food Bank are among those helping provide meals to underprivileged children in need of food while school is not in session.

"There are 50 sites that we are offering breakfast and lunch at,” said Ryan Mikolaycik, Austin ISD’S executive director of Food and Services and Warehouse.

You do not need to be an Austin ISD student to receive the meals. The district expects to serve more than 100,000 meals over the next few months.

“We have an opportunity to really feed the belly and feed the families, and we are excited about that. These families, with the high cost of living, they really need a source of food, and the kids need a place they can come and feel safe and get food," Mikolaycik said.

The Central Texas Food Bank is getting ready to serve more 260,000 meals, including providing nearly 5,000 daily.

"This summer, we will provide meals to 60 sites throughout our service area," said Sari Vatske, president and chief executive officer of the Central Texas Food Bank.

Vatske said the food bank is seeing pandemic levels of food insecurity right now, with families experiencing what Vaske calls "a triple threat, not having access to free or reduced meals, the cost of cooling a home increases, and daycare options continue to be expensive."

Both Mikolayski and Vatske said they will continue to serve the community to make sure kids don't go hungry.

"We are doing everything we can try to meet the increase need this summer," Vatske said.

"We are here for the kids of Austin," Mikolaycik added.

Round Rock, Pflugerville and Del Valle ISDs are also offering free meals this summer.

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