POSTED: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - 4:44pm
UPDATED: Thursday, May 15, 2014 - 5:16pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — Right now, more than 18,000 children in East Baton Rouge Parish don't know where their next meal will come from, but one program wants to help make sure they don't go hungry this summer. I have more on why this program is so crucial for Baton Rouge.
"It's a huge problem that children don't have meals or access to meals during the summer," said Galynne Mack, the executive director of the Big Buddy Program in Baton Rouge.
Mack works with kids everyday.
"I mean it's hard especially during the summer," Mack said.
Mack said it's hard to see kids go hungry.
"We have one of the highest poverty rates," Mack stated.
Every summer, the Big Buddy Program provides kids with fun activities and more importantly with meals, but Galynne said they can't do it alone.
"We just need to have more feeding sites," Mack said.
During the school year, children get free or reduced meals, but now that school is almost out, a lot of kids might have to go without. Thanks to the Summer Feeding Program, kids all around the area will have food to eat.
"When the kids are home all day. You know just normally they eat a lot and eat you out of house and home. So this is a way that young people, our children, our families can have access to nutritious meals, and really have that need taken care of," Mack said.
The Mayor's Office is partnering with programs like Big Buddy, East Baton Rouge Parish Schools and USDA to make it happen because it's needs to happen.
Mack said it's the kind of involvement they've been missing.
"Very encouraged that now the Mayor's Office is involved and has an eye on this," Mack said.
Any child under 18 in east baton rouge parish is eligible for the program, regardless of family income.
If you want to learn more about how you can sign up you can go here: http://healthybr.com/healthy-eating/summer-feeding-program.aspx 
For more information about the program, residents can contact the East Baton Rouge Parish School System at (225) 226-3604 or the Big Buddy Program (225) 388-9737.
Baker residents can contact the City of Baton School System at (225) 774-5795 and Central residents can call the Central Community School System (225) 650-2918 or (225) 650-2919.