ST. CLOUD -- Summer is supposed to be a time of fun and excitement for kids as they get a break from school. However, for some kids, it's a time of hunger.

Across the state, more kids are struggling to find consistent and healthy meals without the fallback of a daily school lunch.

Local organizations like the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota are expanding their efforts to provide kids with a meal.

Michelle Dalton is the lead cook at the Eastside Boys and Girls Club in St. Cloud. She says there is a huge need to make sure kids are fed and the numbers continue to rise each year.

It's one less thing they have to worry about and you can see that with some of these kids.

The Boys and Girls Club began offering summer meals back in 2000 and have three commercial kitchens provide at least one meal per day at their three clubs and 11 KIDSTOP sites on weekdays.

At the Eastside location, they provide a large snack in the afternoon and dinner for about 100 kids who attend the club each day.

Dalton says the organization recently added a new culinary arts program to help teach kids the lifelong skill of how to cook and spark an interest in a potential career.

Instead of it being a cooking club I wanted it to be more realistic. They get to learn about food budgeting, try different things and experiment with international type foods.

Dalton says the first class had about six boys between ages nine to eleven. She says they will be starting up a senior cooking club later this summer for middle and high school students.

Last summer, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota provided more than 100,000 meals and 200,000 snacks to local kids in the St. Cloud area.

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