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Stacey Butler ReportingSummer is a time many school age children look forward to all year, but a new study shows a growing number of Utah school kids who rely on school lunches go without when summer vacation begins.
Only one in every four low income children in Utah who receive free or low cost school lunches are provided lunches during the summer.
According to a recent national study Utah ranks ninth best among the states for providing lunches to needy children. More than a quarter of Utah children who received free or reduced price lunches during the school year also received summer lunches in 2002. That's higher than the national average of 20%.
The study said that 115-thousand needy Utah children received school lunches during the school year compared to just 30-thousand during the summer.
That means there's a gap of almost 80-thousand Utah children who rely on low cost or free lunches during the school year, but go without them when school is out.
Gina Cornia, Utahns Against Hunger: “If kids are eating breakfast and lunch at school, then they go on vacation, it's not much of a vacation if they don't have breakfast and lunch available."
Utah school districts provide federally funded lunches at 127 summer meal sites statewide. But more than 700 schools provide school lunches during the year.
Advocates are calling on Congress to increase funding this year.
For more information, visit the Utahns Agains Hunger web site or call 1-800-453-3663.