USDA looks to get more meals to kids in summer

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- It's long been a sore spot for the federal government and hunger-prevention groups: Each year, children who qualify for free meals at school go without during summer break.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture pays schools, churches and other nonprofits to serve summer meals to children in low-income neighborhoods, but many children don't have a way to get there.

Partly as a result, less than one in five of the 20.6 million children who receive free or reduced-price school lunches gets meals in the summer.

To address the problem, the U.S. Department of Agriculture spent $6.3 million this year to test new approaches in 13 states. Some grant recipients distributed food in backpacks. Others delivered meals to children's homes or served them to participants in arts and sports programs.