68,299 children were served meals in June through the Summer Child Nutrition Program run by the Knox County Community Action Committee. That's an increase from the 66,951 kids served during the same month last year.
During this past school year, the CAC says 41 percent of Knox County students were eligible for free or reduced school lunch rates (about 23,000 students).
There are no applications for anyone to fill out when they go to one of the 73 sites to get a meal, but the locations of the program are in targeted, low-income areas where the need for reduced-price meals is greatest, says CAC executive director Barbara Kelly.
Kelly says the program has been operating for several years, and that the partners who provide the locations for the meals are responsible for serving the children who come to eat. Knox County schools lend their kitchens for food preparation and CAC provides the food (which is funded by the Department of Agriculture).
The goal of the program, Kelly says, is to make sure kids in low-income families have access to nutritious foods to help combat diseases like Type II diabetes and childhood obesity, in addition to the most pressing need: "Obviously we don't want children to be hungry during the summer," Kelly says.
The program serves breakfast, lunch, and snacks at locations hosted by program partners in the community. The CAC does not have a map of locations, but anyone interested in the program can call the CAC at (865) 546-3500 to find out which site is closest, or check the list of sites the CAC provided: SFSP site list 2012.pdf