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Winter school closures can force kids to go hungry

Posted at 9:00 PM, Mar 03, 2015

KENT COUNTY, Mich. -- With the cold weather in West Michigan also comes school closures. That also means more students who rely on the food they receive at school are left to go without.

United Church Outreach Ministry in Wyoming said for many students in West Michigan, the only food they receive is the what they get from school, so a cancelled school day can mean a day without a meal.

Executive Director Bruce Roller said that the level of poverty in Kent County is alarming.

"100% of the children in the schools around us that we serve are free or reduced lunch," said Roller.

Roller said that last year, UCOM served more than 34,000 people.

When school is cancelled because of snow or extreme cold like we experienced in February, Roller said that for thousands of children, that means they might go hungry.

Many kids do get help from groups like Kids Food Basket.

As the price of junk food continues to decrease and the cost of fresh produce continues to rise, Roller said that it's important that when kids sit down to eat, they are eating the right things.

"Our slogan for 15 years has been, we don't want to fill kids up with potato chips. We want kids to be able to eat food that's healthful," said Roller.