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Tummies rumbling this week
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Last week, summer meals ended in Great Bend for youngsters participating in the free summer lunch and breakfast program at area elementary schools.  For the past four weeks, they’ve had access to nutritious meals, but now parents will need to provide those meals for their kids until school starts mid-August.  
In the mean time, the food bank in Great Bend has seen record numbers of customers, many of whom have been laid off from oil field jobs.  While the food can be a God-send at this time, it’s important to keep in mind that there is a limit to the number of visits a family can make to the food bank over the course of a year.  Still, Great Bend is lucky to have the participation of dedicated donors and volunteers that offer a much needed helping hand to those who are in need.
Regardless of where you stand on free and reduced lunches, there are children in our city who will not be getting the food they need to have happy, healthy lives for the next six weeks.  While the adults in their lives are the ones in charge, who can make the biggest difference for them by securing the needed income to providing for their needs, if they can’t for whatever reason those tummies are still going to be rumbling.  
Ultimately, it benefits all of us when kids are fed.  They can play and they can learn, their health improves and they become productive members of our community.   If you know of a way to help, step up and do so.  If that means contributing money or food to the food bank or a church mission to help feed the hungry, then do it.  If it means helping to start or expand a back-pack program, then do it.  And if it means inviting the family next door, down on their luck, over for a picnic lunch, then do it.  
And while you are thinking about it, consider ways your company or your church can rise to the challenge of feeding hungry kids in the year to come.  Especially in light of the state of school funding these days, maybe it’s time we all stop looking to the local schools to solve this problem for us.  They do a great job, but they can only do so much.   

-- Veronica Coons