WHITEHALL - The Whitehall Community Library’s summer feeding program is helping kids stay fed throughout summer.
Lia Francisco takes her three kids to get free lunches at the Whitehall Community library through its newest program.
"We cook so much for our kids and we spend so much on groceries, so just having someplace to come that we can just get some help is really good," said Francisco.
This is the first-ever program of its kind in Whitehall through the community library. Jeannie Ferris, the director of the Whitehall Community Library, says she wanted to make sure that every child is fed during the summer when grocery and gas prices have put a strain on a family’s finances.
"For families that are on very tight budget to begin with to turn around and suddenly have to deal with all these additional costs can be a real hardship on them and this is a way that the library can reach out to the community and help," said Ferris.
Ferris partnered with Action Inc. for free meals to be picked up and served at the library at no cost. The library started out feeding 60 kids, but the number has grown to 170.
According to the Montana Office of Public Instruction, 40-70 percent of Whitehall students rely on free and reduced lunches.
"We have a lot of children that rely on the school lunch program here and a lot of preschoolers that are from homes that just need a little extra help," said Ferris.
Ferris says the program has been a success so far.
"It’s working very well, things are moving very smoothly. We're very excited," said Ferris.
"There’s so many kids that benefit from it," said Francisco.
The Whitehall community library serves lunch Monday to Thursday from 11: 30 A.M. to 1 P.M.