(NEWS CENTER Maine) -- One in five children go hungry in Maine, according to the Good Shepherd Food Bank, which is why the organization provides free lunches across the state during the summer months.
"It's sad to know that kids might not be getting lunch during the summer." Bobbie Smith said. Smith lives in Bangor and has volunteered with the summer lunch program for the last few years. She and Christal Curtis both help to ensure kids in their community are fed during the summer months since many rely on the school to provide that meal.
"A lot of people out here are on food stamps so they can only provide what they can provide," Curtis said. "That doesn't always mean fresh fruit or fresh vegetables, those can be extremely expensive for people out here."
Good Shepherd food bank provides summer lunches and other programs for more than 8-thousand kids and families throughout 150 locations around the state. Each day children under the age of 18 are given a bagged lunch full of nutrient rich food. There is even a "share table" for kids to enjoy even more goodies. Smith and Curtis see the need firsthand and say it's a huge help to families in the community.
"Knowing that they have a free meal, a good meal and a nutritious meal means the world to the kids out here." Curtis said.
They say the program is about so much more than a healthy lunch, its about community and bringing people together in a safe, fun environment -- and that no one should be ashamed to ask for help.
"Maybe mom and dad couldn't get apples for the week, they had to pay a bill," Curtis said. "So they can come here and have apples."
"Just because you utilize a program doesn't make you a bad person," Smith said. "It's here for a reason we want people to use it."