UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:54am
WACO -- School is out in McLennan County, and the McLennan County Hunger Coalition is focusing on how to keep kids eating healthy in the summer months.
More than 27,000 children in McLennan County are food insecure, meaning they don't know where their next meal will come from.
Jessica Alvarez knows what it's like to be a part of that statistic.
"I'll make sure what I have right there, I won't even eat. I'll just set it to the kids and that's it," said Alvarez.
Alexis Weaver with the Waco Chamber says that's an all too common story for tens of thousands of McLennan County families.
"It's been easy to pass the buck along, but it's time to say there are kids who aren't eating," said Weaver. "That's a lot of kids that aren't receiving meals. It has a really significant impact on not just on nutrition but also on knowledge retention."
That's why the Hunger Coalition started the summer food program. Children can now show up at local schools and eat two free meals a day.
Anyone from the ages of 1 to 18 can get a free meal. A relief for families like the Alvarez's.
"It's going to be a little less that I'm going to have to buy for the house during the summer so I can save back a little more money, put it in gas or bills or whatever I need to put it toward," said Alvarez.
Last year, 3,000 participated, but Waco ISD's Scott Anglesay says they are hoping for more this year.
"3,000 is probably a little low as far as what we could probably be bringing in if we were able to get the word out to everybody who needs it and have transportation to bring them in," said Anglesay.
For a list of the 32 food sites or to find out how you can help with transportation, click here.