When school cafeterias close for summer this week, thousands of children will lose their access to free or reduced-price lunches, and the San Antonio Food Bank is gearing up to bridge the gap.
"We get so much attention at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but the summertime right now is actually the time of the highest need for the Food Bank, said Michael Guerra, the Food Bank's director of development.
Seniors from Cole High School were volunteering Tuesday morning, helping to package breakfasts and lunches for the summer program.
"This is something they can see there's a need, plus they can learn community service is important the rest of their life, " said the students' sponsor Nancy Hildenburg.
The meals that will be taken to recreation centers and churches and other summer programs in lower-income neighborhoods.
"We'll serve 3,000 to 5,000 children a day, in addition to what we do in a school year," Guerra said.
The Food Bank serves some 60,000 clients a week, a number that has ballooned since the economic downturn.
"Back when the Recession hit four or five years ago, we doubled the number of families we are serving," Guerra said. "We never doubled the Food Bank size, until now."
The year-long expansion project is nearly complete.
A cavernous cupboard will soon be filled with food for the community. Refrigerated space will triple in size, allowing for more meats, dairy products and produce to be stored.
The $15 million product is funded by $4 million from a tax credits program and the remainder from donations.
During the summer months, the Food Bank particularly needs proteins and kid-friendly foods like peanut butter, canned tuna, canned fruits and vegetables and grains.
They also need volunteers to help package and deliver the food for the summer program.