BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A new citywide partnership was launched on Wednesday aimed at ending childhood hunger. It turns out, the summer break is actually a vulnerable time for many students in Baltimore City.

Mary Bubala has the story.

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At the John Eagar Howard Rec Center, children eat free lunches all summer long.

“Today, we have ham and cheese sandwich on croissant bread with juices and milk and raisins,” seventh-grader Andre Dickerson said.

On Wednesday, those lunches were served up by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Orioles star centerfielder Adam Jones as they announced a new effort to make sure no city young person goes without food.

“We have free meal sites throughout the summer, no income requirements. All you have to be is a Baltimore City kid under the age of 18 and you could have breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Rawlings-Blake said.

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Baltimore City says more than half the students who qualify for free lunches during the school year get them when school lets out for summer. So the event is about getting the word out to the families.

There’s no better way to do that then enlist Jones, who was in a free lunch program as a boy.

“We’d get three meals. It was wonderful, it was safe and it’s something that looking back on, I really didn’t appreciate as I do now,” Jones said.

Fifth-grader Corey Britton: “It’s amazing! I never thought I would get to experience something like this.”
Bubala: “And what’s so amazing?”
Britton: “I get to see all these beautiful people and they are helping me eat and stuff.”

“Most kids would not ever get this feeling, so it’s wonderful,” Terry Curry, a seventh-grader, said.

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Baltimore City says families can call 211 to connect to free meals in their neighborhood and learn more about this new program to end childhood hunger.