ODESSA, TX (KWES) - Hunger is more common than we think here in the area, but many organizations strive to help put an end to that each summer.
Summer time is when hunger peaks, especially for students, so its best to take advantage of free meals for your kids this summer.
During the summer, kids aren't normally getting the meals they get at school and with parents working, they aren't able to be home to make sure their kids eat.
Hunger is something the West Texas Food Bank works on every day.
"Absolutely think hunger exists in the area, or else really we wouldn't be here," Craig Stoker, communications and public relations for the West Texas Food Bank said. "When you start looking at the population we serve for the food bank 40 percent of the clients we have are under the age of 18. It works out to be about one in four kids in the state of Texas are food insecure which means they don't know where their next meal is coming from."
Hunger increases and decreases as it follows the trend of the economy, but Stoker said even when the economy is on an uphill, people are still faced with hard times.
"Even when the economy is good you get all these people and you may not realize the cost of living here in the Permian Basin, they'll get locked into leases they can't afford and its less expensive to stay in that lease than it is to break it so we'll see people coming in even when there's a boom going on," he said.
Stoker said with the hot summers here in West Texas, comes high utility bills and this makes people choose less food over keeping their homes more comfortable, but the food bank is here to help with people struggling.
"I think its very important especially for their growth, for their education, behavioral issues," Stoker said. "If we can keep those kids fed you'll see increases in test scores, increases in attendance in school. I know its the summer and things like that may not matter but you still wanna maintain and kinda retain the things that you've learned over the school year, and being able to have healthy and nutritious meals just adds to that."
Stoker said the food bank expects to serve 21,000 meals this summer.
To find out the times and places they are serving you can go to their website wtxfoodbank.org.
They will serve anyone free 18 and under.