Camden City School District provides free meals to thousands of kids

Program encourages healthy eating, active lifestyle

Justin Udo
July 26, 2018 - 3:47 pm
The Camden City School District is providing free nutritious lunches to more than 2,000 kids over the summer.

Justin Udo | KYW Newsradio

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CAMDEN, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Hunger does not take a summer vacation.

And for officials in Camden, they are working to make sure all the city's kids stay active and healthy over the summer.

"A lot of students at the end of the school year, they don't have all of the meals that's offered to them during the course of the school year," said Arlethia Brown, manager of purchasing and food service for the Camden City School District, "so we wanted to make sure that we have food available to the students in the summer as schools are closed."

Brown said they are serving more than 2,000 kids with two meals a day — which are healthy and well-balanced — at more than 50 locations throughout the city.

A full meal includes "a fruit, a vegetable component, a meat or a grain, and of course, a milk," she added.

All of the kids have different lunch time favorites.

For Isaiah, it's hard to pick just one.

"I like eating the chicken, the oranges, the bread, the bagels," he gushed.

During a celebration of the district's free lunch program Thursday, kids had the chance to taste some new foods, play with a dairy cow and meet former Eagles wide receiver Jason Avant.

"Anyone that's willing to do that for kids who may not have the best means in life or may not be able to afford it — if anyone is doing that, I'll be there for them," said Avant.

The program also encourages kids to get active by having them play different games and sports.

"They do swimming, they do boxing, we get them running in the park," said Brown, "and other activities we can find."

The program runs until the kids go back to school.

"I'm just happy to be able to offer meals to students that may not actually be able to get one of these meals," Brown added. "You never know what's happening in a student's household."