ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Abilene ISD is offering free meals for kids again this summer. Director of Student Nutrition, Kandace Grenwelge, said Abilene ISD provides free and reduced breakfast and lunch during the school year. But in the summertime finding meals can be more difficult.

“We’re a high ‘free and reduced’ area in Abilene where 89.1% socioeconomic poverty, and so it’s very important for families to have that consistency of the breakfast and lunch meals,” explained Grenwelge.

Last year, the nutrition team served more than 35,000 meals in a two-month period. That number is expected to grow this summer.

“We had a 3% increase last year, and so we’re anticipating about a 3% increase this year. As inflation continues and gas prices continue to rise, groceries are high, I think more families opt to eat with us, which is great,” Grenwelge continued.

Abilene mother of three, Selena Jimenez, has another little one on the way. She said this program helps her out tremendously.

“Somehow the kids get hungry even more during the summer, so yeah, this comes in handy,” said Jimenez.

As a busy mom, she said she was glad the summer feeding program has lunch covered.

“This really comes in handy, either to meet new people for the kids to socialize with other kids, as well and it helps a parent whenever they are financially struggling,” Jimenez added.

Grenwelge said the program is open to all children 18 and younger. She said nutrition and exercise goes hand-in-hand with education, so she’s proud of all the people involved to make the program happen.