Summer Programs Help Low-Income Families - 8 News NOW

LuAnne Sorrell, Reporter

Summer Programs Help Low-Income Families

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(Jun. 8) -- With summer heat comes higher utility bills and thousands of low-income children go hungry every summer, as school lunches are no longer on the menu. Learn about two programs that may be able to help low-income families get through the summer.

After nine long months, John Mark is excited that summer vacation has finally arrived. "Because we get to do whatever we want," he said. But for thousands of low-income children living in the Valley, no school could also mean no food.

Karen Vogel is the summer food program coordinator. She says, "When school is out often many of them go without eating or they subsist on snack foods."

95,000 children here in Clark County qualify for the summer food program, but fractions of that actually take advantage of the nutritious meals.

"We will have participation figures of about 3,000 a day," Vogel said. She told Eyewitness News there are 52 locations that serve meals, but many parents still don't know the program exists.

At 77, Jimmy Marzet's children are all grown up. But the summer months bring him worries of his own -- high electric bills. "I worry sometimes," he said. His daughter, Diane Nunley, added, "This month we're suffering. We haven't run the air conditioning. We couldn't have nothing on because we're thinking about the light bill."

The state welfare department wants to help low income residents to pay those high bills. But out of the $17 million set aside for the energy assistance program this year; only $4 million has been used.

Dana Gryszkiewicz is with the energy assistance program. "There's a lot of people who qualify for this program that just have not heard about it."

And through spreading the word both the young and old can get relief during these trying summer months.

To find out if the Summer Food Service program has a location in your part of town, click on the links in the box above. Or you can call Karen Vogel, the program coordinator, at 486-7902 .

Call 800-846-2009 for more information on the Utility Assistance program, or stop by Nevada Power or Southwest Gas to pick up an application.

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