More food was served last year in Missouri through a federally funded program that feeds low-income children when school meals stop during summer break.

A new report from the nonprofit Food Research and Action Center finds that 37,623 children were served summer meals on an average day in July 2014. That's an increase of nearly 34 percent from the previous year. Nationally, more than 3 million students participated in summer meal programs, up 7.3 percent from 2013.

Empower Missouri director Jeanette Oxford says summer challenges tight food budgets and that summer meal programs can help fill in the gaps. Community organizations, local nonprofits and for-profit companies set up and sponsor the federally-funded meal sites in cities throughout the country.

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