City steps up to provide kids free lunch

City steps up to provide kids free lunch »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland’s stepping up to right a wrong that left hundreds of less fortunate kids hungry when their free-lunch program ended.

For three weeks many kids will end up going without their free lunch. Their summer lunch program ended Aug. 15 but school doesn’t start until September. The city just found out about the gap and decided to something about it.

For the next three weeks kids in need will get sandwiches, carrots, fruit, and chocolate milk thanks, in part, to Portland Mayor Sam Adams.

Someone notified Adams' office that his youngest constituents were going without because of an unnoticed lapse between the summer lunch program and the start of school.

“The three-week gap occurred because employees with Portland Public Schools in the food service kitchen needed a break to gear up for the new school year and take a summer vacation,” said Adams. The resources have always been there. It's a question of the people-power.”

But with money tight the city had to get creative by reaching out to other local school districts and within the city.

“The Water Bureau stepped up and provided vans; parks employees said they would cover the three-week period,” City Commissioner Nick Fish said.

Jeremy Erb, a pastor, said he thinks there is a large number of kids who might have missed lunch during the three-week gap. “So it's really a needed program for sure,” he said, which is why local neighborhood churches like "The Table" are providing volunteers.

“We want to love and bless the city so it was a great opportunity to step in and fill in the gap,” said Erb.

The cost of the lunches will still be covered by the federal government. It’s the transportation of the food and the distribution of it that’s not.