Portland stops kids from going down "summer slide" | Video
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PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - During the summer, the last thing on kids' minds is school, but the City of Portland says that's no reason why they should forget about practicing a healthy lifestyle.
PHOTOS: Free food program for kids
For many kids, maintaining that healthy lifestyle is very difficult. Ronald Adams, the food service director for Portland Public Schools, says 54 percent of kids in the school system rely on discounted or free lunches. That means 54 percent of kids are at risk of going hungry when those meals aren't provided for them at school during the summer.
For the third year in a row, the city is offering a free food program at several locations around the city, including Deering Oaks Park, near the playground. On Wednesday, the free meal consisted of a nectarine, chicken burger and smoothie.
Food isn't enough to attract kids to a place. That's why the city is offering fun stations, complete with hula hoops, books and jumprope. Oh, and don't forget an appearance from Slugger, the Sea Dogs' mascot. Sometimes a firetruck arrives, allowing kids to check out how it works.
Portland Mayor Michael Brennan is helping raise awareness of this program, asking kids and their parents to sign a pledge to eat healthy, practice their numbers and letters, read, exercise and explore Portland as much as possible.
For a list of locations offering free food, call 211.