(WDTN) – During the school year, more than 76 percent of Springfield students receive free or reduced breakfast and lunch. Every year, the summer months come, and for many that need isn’t met.

“With COVID-19 the need is even greater and children are still facing that issue,” said Tyra Jackson, Executive Director of Second Harvest Food Bank.

Second Harvest Food Bank has partnered with schools in Clark, Champaign and Logan Counties to begin its summer food service program, offering prepackaged meals to children from ages 1 to 18.

Children will receive five breakfasts and five lunch meals each week. Adults will be allowed to pick the food up but are limited to one site per week.

“These five breakfasts, five lunches will help supplement that household for that family that might be struggling to either get places to get food or just don’t have the resources the finances to actually purchase it,” Jackson said.

Some of that help is going to South Springfield, which is now a food desert after losing the Kroger grocery store on South Limestone Street.

A group of 33 soldiers and airmen from the 837th engineer battalion for the Army National Guard and the 178th Air Force Wing were there to help.

“I’ve spent almost 14 years in the army and this is the first time where I feel like I’m not training to go to war I’m actually helping the community and doing something to benefit others,” said Sgt. Joshua Thompson.

The program is planned to run from June 15 to Aug. 21. Hours of operation depend on the school where the distribution is taking place.

Click here to see the distribution schedule provided by Second Harvest.