Helping Military Families Feed their Children
Free lunches are now available on Fort Drum.
The Summer Food Service program will provide free lunches to kids in four locations on post all summer long.
"We're focused on the installation and focused on our communities and our housing areas that we're able to provide that and hopefully fill the gap for some of our soldiers and some of the families that might be in need," said Fort Drum Garrison Commander Colonel Noel Nicolle.
Access to free lunch for the kids can make a big difference in a family's budget.
A family with two children can save more than $300 when they participate for a month and a half.
"That's a big chunk that they can use for other things," said Melinda Gault, executive director of the Community Action Planning Council.
But having a free lunch program on the Army post begs the question - why are there military families in need?
Although the lowest-ranking soldier makes less than $1,400 a month in base pay, Nicolle says low pay isn't neccesarily the problem.
"Certain people have different circumstances. They may have a separated family. They may be separated from their spouse or loved ones. There are certain circumstances that every family and every individual is different," he said.
On the first day of the program on Wednesday, more than 300 kids were fed.
Although this program is on Fort Drum, it's not just for dependents of soldiers.
Children from civilian families can also receive free lunches on post.