Summer means more hungry students in NE Florida

Students across the area are now enjoying summer vacation. But for some, the break proves difficult. That's because they've lost their consistent meals.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – When the final bell rings and students are released for the summer, there will be a legitimate, dire concern.

“The infrastructure's in place when school's in session to provide them with food and of course, when school's out for those 10 weeks, that infrastructure is not there,” Luke Layow, President and CEO of Feeding Northeast Florida, said.

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In Duval County, roughly 100-thousand students are on free and reduced lunch, or one in three. Feeding Northeast Florida works around the clock to fill in the gaps, but they need help.

“It takes resources to employ the staff and to fuel the trucks and to run this warehouse you see behind us,” Layow continued.

“Snack Packs” will be distributed through local libraries this summer, in partnership with Jacksonville Children's Commission.

“It breaks my heart, but you know. Hunger has always been a problem here,” parent Abegaile Valencia said.

Empty shelves are a sign more donations are needed at Feeding Northeast Florida.

What they do have, they use wisely.

Layow says there's a stigma about people who are hungry and struggle to make ends meet. The reality is, nearly 60 percent of the people they help have a job and a home. It all boils down to simply helping your neighbor when they need it.

“It’s a community problem, but there's a community solution to that problem."

Monetary donations are the biggest need for the summer and beyond. For more information on how you can help, visit