Summer Food Program kicks off

By: Cole Miller

It's wasn't a football Saturday, but there were plenty of little fans running around Memorial Stadium on Wednesday.

It was all about learning to eat healthy, and having some fun at the same time. Wednesday marked the kickoff for the Summer Food Service Program.

It's a dream come true for any kid raised a Cornhusker: a chance to run across Memorial Stadium and meet some of their favorite athletes. It's all done to raise awareness for the summer food service program, Play 60.

“We do this because we know that most children, when school is out, are not able to get a meal like they do during the school year,” said Bev Benes with the Nebraska Department of Education.

Benes says in Nebraska and Iowa, about ten percent of students who need help with getting meals over the summer actually get it. The goal this year is to raise that number to 15 percent, and these kids are glad to help spread the word.

“I'm glad to be here because we're kind of supporting the kids that don't eat and don't have food. I think it's good to be healthy just so you can be healthy and do different things,” said Benes.

This is the first year more than 300 students had the chance to check out the stadium and learn more about being healthy, and the importance of being active at least one hour every day.

“It's really important to stay healthy these days because a lot of foods have really greasy and fatty things in them and they're not as healthy as fruit,” said Terriah Willson of Omaha.

So pick up your favorite fruit and get moving. “It provides a good meal and time for activity and just seeing your friends, so it's a great program,” said Benes.

To help meet that goal of feeding more kids this summer, there will be more than 200 sites across the state where they can get a meal.