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Kids County program serves breakfast and lunch

ESCAMBIA COUNTY  --  23 percent of children in the United States are living in poverty.

That's according to the national "Kids Count" survey.
That report ranks Florida 38th in the nation for well being of children.
It found that the parents of 1 in 3 children don't have full-time work...
And nearly half of those families spend more than a third of their income on housing.

During the school year Florida schools serve children from low income families reduced lunches.
And even though the school playgrounds and classrooms are empty the need is still there.
"Sometimes it's hard for families to feed their children well balanced meals like sandwiches, apples, and juice, but that's what one summer program is trying to do for children in need."

Connie Bookman  "We don't want one child to go without a meal."   
Connie Bookman is the founder of Pathways for a Change.
She started the summer program three years ago.

Around 30-kids attend the camp.
Dantesia McAintosh  "I appreciate them letting us come here."
11-year old Dantesia McAintosh's says her family has hit hard times.
"We really don't have that much to eat."
The summer camp feeds her and the other children breakfast and lunch each day.

Counselors say it's a privilege for them to be part of the program
Kevondre Brown  "It hits an emotional state because you are seeing the kids jump just to have a sandwich or some juice and an apple which they probably have never had or they couldn't afford it."
The camp doesn't just serve the campers.
Any child under 17 who walks through the door can get a free meal.

This was Jasmine Hawkins first time bringing her 6-year old niece to the camp.
 It means a lot to our community to have somewhere to go when your children ain't got no food to eat."

"If you like to make any donations to Pathways to Summer Fun you can drop them off between 8:00 to 2:00."

The "Pathways to Summer Fun" camp takes place at 1401 West Lloyd Street, in the Morris Court neighborhood of Pensacola.

You can find a list of other summer lunch programs on our website, under Newslinks.