Volunteers from Utah Food Bank give out free lunches to children ages 18 and younger at Wines Park. | Lehi Free Press

The Utah Food Bank extends their Kids Café program into the summer months each year to provide free meals for children 18 years old and younger. The Utah Food Bank partners with the United States Department of Agriculture throughout the state and this year they have a truck coming to two Lehi parks to provide free lunch for children.

“Summer is a critical time for Utah children and their families who face hunger because the school meal programs they rely on during the school year aren’t available,” the Utah Food Bank website explains. In Utah 382,490 people struggle with hunger – 142,320 are children. On the Feeding America website they explain what happens when a child faces hunger, “Kids who don’t get enough to eat – especially during their first three years – begin life at a serious disadvantage. When they’re hungry, children are more likely to be hospitalized and they face higher risks of health conditions like anemia and asthma. As they grow up, kids struggling to get enough to eat are more likely to have problems in school and other social situations.”

Little boy receives a free lunch from Utah Food Bank’s program. | Jennifer Wirth

The Utah Food Bank will be parking their food truck at Wines Park (600 N Center Street) from 11:30 a.m. to noon, and Bandwagon Park (900 N 200 W) from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. where children 18 and younger can get a free boxed lunch. The lunches include a sandwich, applesauce or other fruit or vegetable, and a drink. There is no registration required and the children must consume the food on-site. The Utah Food Bank truck does not provide any other food options to buy for adults. The Summer Feeding Program is every weekday, except the week of July 24 – 30, until August 17.

“It’s set up to help children who have food insecurity, but anyone can participate,” said Mandy Moore, a volunteer working in the Utah Food Bank truck at Wines Park. The Utah Food Bank and their partners work with city officials to determine where the greatest needs are and that is why Lehi was chosen for the Summer Feeding program this year.

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