DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — The Decatur Boys and Girls Club started a new program to make sure kids get fed every day.
One in six children in America struggle with hunger. Tens of thousands of kids in central Illinois are being affected by this. The national nonprofit called Feeding America reports 19% of kids in Macon County were food insecure in 2017.
The nutrition enrichment program gives kids a healthy and reliable meal so they don’t have to worry about their most basic needs.
On Tuesday afternoon at the Decatur BGC, kids talked about their favorite foods. One boy said, “I like pizza with pepperoni, sausage and cheese” But in the back of some of their minds, there’s a concern when it comes to what they may or may not get to eat.
Director Shamika Bond says, “When they leave the school, they’re wondering where their next meal is going to come from.” She notices the struggle some of the children go through every day. “A lot of these kids parents work second shift jobs so they don’t have anyone home to prepare a nutritional meals for them.”
Feeding America reports more than 4,500 children in Macon County were food insecure in 2017, its most recent recorded data. Compare that to other central Illinois counties like Champaign at 6,100, Vermilion 3,920 and Sangamon at 7,790.
The Boys and Girls Club meal program feeds the nearly 80 kids that come through their doors. Nutritionist Charlotte Cook plans out their snacks each afternoon. Describing Tuesday’s meal she says, “This is a healthy food wrap. I say healthy because it has the five food groups. Of course were have a little cream cheese. That’s the fat, because we need to have a little fat in there. And then we just wrap it up for the children.”
Depending on how many kids come each day, the Decatur BGC is able to provide up to 100 meals each day Monday through Friday.
This is paid for largely by a donation from ADM. The company gave the BGC about $55,000 to keep the program running. Each meal costs $2.42.