UPDATE: For many students, summer vacation is a fun time. As for others, it's a time of uncertainty.

In Tennessee, 1 in 4 children faces hunger. In our area, plenty of students rely on schools to provide a meal.

An Erlanger pediatrician says having three stable meals makes all the difference. It helps every child reach their highest potential. An unpredictable meal schedule isn't healthy for child development.

Pediatrician Joani Jack reminds people of the most important meal of the day is breakfast.

“It gives us that perfect start to the day. It sustains us throughout the day,” said Jack. “So, if we start out by not eating, our body is playing catch-up all day long.”

This is the time of year children are playing outside more often.

Jack suggests staying from processed foods. She says for a healthy diet, it’s best to stick to the basics.

“Some proteins, carbohydrates and a little bit of fat to sustain them. They also need fruit, vegetables as well as some dairy,” said Jack.

She says the result of not has a balanced diet may lead to health concerns.

“They get really tired, dizzy, shaky or jittery,” said Jack. “Sometimes rarely kids may pass out.”

Now, several organizations are trying to make a difference for every student. So, they deliver packed meals to children who need them.

Jack says eating regularly doesn't just help with playing. It also helps students knock out their summer reading list.

“Enough food and a balanced diet all of that work together. It allows them to learn well, and to thrive,” said Jack.


PREVIOUS STORY: For many kids summer vacation is a fun time. However, for others, it's a time of uncertainty.

Plenty of students rely on school meals, but not being in class means unstable meals.

In Tennessee, 1 in 4 children faces hunger. It's a sad reality that students in the area deal with on a daily basis. Learning does not end when school lets out. Neither does a child's need for good nutrition.

Of the children in Tennessee, who qualify for free and reduced lunch, only a small percentage are being reached by summer programs.

Several organizations will be giving out snack packs to help families not go hungry this summer. Some programs have already started, and others won’t start until after Memorial Day.

A list of those programs can be found below: