ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Just as they have in years past, Abilene ISD’s Student Nutrition Program and the Abilene Big Country Hunger Coalition are striving to ease parent’s worry of feeding their children this summer – but this time, with an added sense of purpose as the price of goods, groceries, and gas rise.

“I think some people don’t realize it, but we feed children 12 months out of the year,” Kandace Grenwelge, AISD student nutrition director, said.

Big Country Homepage infographic: Grocery prices rise by 8% nationally, Abilene residents begin frequenting free meal programs

On a national level, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Statista, inflation on common household groceries has gone up by nearly eight percent:

“The Consumer Price Index rose 7.9 percent from February 2021 to February 2022, following a 12-month increase of 7.5 percent in January 2022. Food prices increased 7.9 percent for the year ended February 2022, the largest 12-month advance since July 1981.”

By the ides of June, AISD reported having already served more than 10,000 summer meals to its students. Grenwelge says she’s happy to know the program’s service is helping stretch the dollars of local families.

“We know that, especially right now with the price of inflation and the price of gas and everything, that families need some additional help to try to help fill the needs that they might have over the summer,” said Grenwelge.

AISD’s meal program will come to an end on July 28 so nutrition staff can have a break before the start of the school year – that’s when the Abilene Big Country Hunger Coalition will step in to feed children and adults during that three-week gap.

“We have 14 sites this year and because we’re privately funded, we can feed both children and adults,” said Becky Almanza, chair of the ABCHC.

Abilene Big Country Hunger Coalition Summer Meal 2022 sites

79601Abilene WIC Office850 North 6th StreetNot offered11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.Not offered
79601City Light Community Ministries336 Hickory StreetNot offered10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.Not offered
79601Grace Fellowship910 Cypress Street Not offered 11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.6:00 – 6:30 p.m., Wednesdays only
79602Freedom Fellowship941 Chestnut Street Not offered 11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.6:00 – 6:30 p.m., Wednesdays only
79602Salvation Army1726 Butternut Street6:30 – 7:00 a.m. Monday – Saturday
7:30 – 8:00 a.m. Sundays
12:30 – 1:00 p.m., closed Wednesdays5:30 – 6:00 p.m., closed Wednesdays
79603Abilene Housing Authority4398 North 7th StreetNot offered12:00 – 1:00 p.m.Not offered
79603BOBS/ Perry Center301 Beech Street6:30 – 7:15 a.m. Not offered Not offered
79603Abilene Public Library (Mockingbird Branch)1326 North Mockingbird Lane Not offered 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Not offered
79603 Faith Works of Abilene1229 North Mockingbird Lane Not offered 12:00 – 12:30 p.m. Not offered
79603 Love & Care Ministries233 Fannin Street7:00 – 8:30 a.m., Monday – Thursday11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Monday – Thursday Not offered
79603 Mobile Market Meal Site (Ortiz Elementary)2550 Vogel Street Not offered 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Not offered
79603 Mobile Market Meal Site (Mann Middle)2545 Mimosa Street Not offered 12:15 – 12:45 p.m. Not offered
79605All For One Missions650 Corsicana Not offered 11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Not offered
79605Southern Hills Church of Christ3666 Buffalo Gap Road Not offered 12:00 – 1:00 p.m., Monday – Friday Not offered

All ages welcomed. Dates of service: July 29; August 1-5; August 8-12.

Almanza also runs a local food pantry where demand for its services has gone up in recent weeks – she attributes the uptick to the rising costs of gas and other commodities.

“In the last month, our numbers have gone up just providing food for families that need it,” said Almanza.

The coalition’s meal program begins July 29. Almanza and her team want to spread the word in the coming weeks, ready to help families stay fed this summer.

“It’s vital that these families have a way to provide for their kid,” said Almanza.

The Abilene Big Country Hunger Coalition is seeking volunteers and sponsors for its program to begin in July. Click here to email the coalition for information and volunteer opportunities. You can also access its website here.