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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Healthy meals. Hand delivered. It’s a deal that these North Texas kids couldn’t pass up.

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“They give us sandwich, fruit, and milk, juice,” says 11-year-old Daisy Campos at an apartment complex in far North Dallas. Without the summer lunch feeding program, Daisy admits that she’d probably eat sugary cereal for lunch.

“Here, it’s like, good for us… and for our body,” says Daisy, “it has no sugar and stuff… healthy.”

But, at least she eats. According to research conducted by Feeding America, some 400,000 North Texas children are considered ‘food insecure.’ That means that they’re not exactly certain of their next meal.

Meanwhile, Daisy’s mom insists that her kids don’t go hungry. But, she also admits that she can’t afford the healthier items: whole wheat breads and fruits that are the staples of summer lunch program menus.

Francisca Olvera says the free, healthy lunches help her stretch her food budget.

“These are kids in our backyard that need our help and you can do something about it,” says Amanda Whitelaw of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. In spite of the overwhelming need, Whitelaw says just a fraction—14% to be exact– of those eligible take advantage of summer feeding sites.

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“So we’re doing two things: we’re trying to get the word out this year,” says Whitelaw. “But, there’s still a gap…during the weekends, these kids are still hungry.”

So the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas has launched an online campaign called “Silence the Growl.” A $5 dollar donation will provide a weekend backpack of non-perishable food for kids at risk of going hungry.

“Bringing the backpacks of food out to them, at their rec centers, in their schools and with their community will help make sure these students get the nutrition that they need,” says Whitelaw.

Other non-profits, like City Square are also working to make the healthy meals available by removing the transportation barrier. A fleet of trucks travel each day to apartment complexes in underserved communities—bringing the healthy lunches to those who need them most.

And of course, Daisy is doing her part to spread the word as well.
“I tell them ‘you’re missing something great!’”

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