May 26, 2015 at 8:47 PM EST - Updated July 10 at 12:11 PM
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM)
Empty fridges and pantries are the reality for millions of children across the country, and thousands in the Valley rely on food assistance programs for a daily meal.
Children in the Valley wonder where their next meal is coming from every day, so multiple agencies across our area will be giving away free meals to anyone 18 and under starting June 1. This will be to ease some of that concern while school is out for the summer.
Tuesday was a busy day of packing food at the Feeding the Valley warehouse. David Shemwell and dozens of volunteers are gearing up to serve food to nearly 2,000 children daily while school doors are closed for the summer.
"One in five children everyday have a food insecurity. National wide, and it's pretty close, the same facts here in Columbus," said David Shemwell, Feeding the Valley administrator.
Statistics like that are why the organization collects donations to feed hungry children and families in 13 nearby Georgia counties and Russell County.
Feeding the Valley has already dished out 7.2 million pounds of food to families in need over the last year, and they plan to keep the momentum going.
"We make sure they get five components, they get the meat, the bread, milk, fruit and vegetables daily," said Shantal Strozier, Nutrition Specialist with Muscogee County Schools.
The Muscogee County School District will also launch their summer meal program on June 1. They are expecting to feed 25,000 children and young adults free and nutritious meals through federal grants.
"We do find that a lot of kids, these are probably the only meals they will get so they do come out and they eat," said Strozier.
Feeding the Valley will set up spots across multiple counties, for meal giveaways Monday through Friday.
Muscogee County School officials will be giving away breakfast, lunch and snacks Monday through Thursday.
"We just want to make sure that the kids that need this service will be able to get it," said Strozier.
Both agencies ask that children eat on location to ensure that they are the ones eating those meals.
Feeding the Valley is currently working out its distribution sites, however you can check out a list of the Muscogee County School District's food locations here.