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St. Luke's free summer lunch program makes healthy food available to kids

QUAKERTOWN, Pa. – School’s out and for kids that means a carefree summer.

But for parents on a tight budget, summer means a lot of worry about how to feed the kids healthy food like they get at school. A program in Bucks County is giving some Quakertown families much-needed relief.

For Laurie Diaz, caring for six, the end of the year was a little daunting. In school, the kids get free lunches.

“I want my kids to eat healthy, but it’s difficult. When you’re on a budget it’s hard to buy the healthier options,” Diaz said.

Diaz says her kids end up eating a lot of chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and other processed foods because they’re cheaper.

The Quakertown mom was overjoyed to learn about a free summer lunch program at St. Luke’s Hospital.

St. Luke’s most recent Annual Community Needs Assessment revealed food security was a common barrier for overall family well-being.

A recent study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says children from lower income households are more likely to gain weight in the summer.

The study says low-income kids also end up consuming more sugary drinks, and less fruits and vegetables than other families.

The program is free for all kids under 18 and runs all summer. Diaz says it’s helping keep her kids healthy and more social.

“They get to make friends, interact, and play,” Diaz said.

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