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More School Kids In Need of Free Meals

State and local education officials say more kids are showing up at schools and recreation centers to get a free meal this summer. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.

More School Kids In Need of Free Meals

State and local education officials say more kids are showing up at schools and recreation centers to get a free meal this summer. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.

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State education officials say a new wave of kids are in need of free meals. They say the rising costs for food and gas, coupled with the home foreclosure crisis, is making it tough for parents to make ends meet.

State School Superintendent Jack O'Connell says the increase is sobering but it comes at time when the program is expanding. There are now more than 3,200 sites serving free meals.

<b> O’Connell: </b> This is a significant expansion over last year. It's a little bit more money per meal from the federal government -- not as much as I would like -- but we're seeing the hard work of the California Congressional Delegation making sure we can expand this program so we can meet the needs our youngest learners.

In San Diego Unified, district officials expect to feed an extra 10-thousand kids this summer. The district's Sally Spero says they've opened new locations during the summer months to help these families. She says so far hundreds of new kids have shown up with hungry bellies.

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<b> Spero: </b> At one (site) where we might have been seeing last year, maybe 40 or 50 people a day, now we're seeing 75 or 80. We opened up a new site where we've been seeing 200 a day. So it’s been quite a bit more than just a little up tick.

State education officials expect to feed an extra 100-thousand kids this summer. The state office of education launched a new database on its website to help parents find a location close to home.

Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News.