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Free meals for hundreds of Memphis children suspended after shutdown

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Around 700 children are fed daily at the six Boys & Girls Club locations in Memphis, where they are preparing to go without until either side in Washington wins. Around 700 children are fed daily at the six Boys & Girls Club locations in Memphis, where they are preparing to go without until either side in Washington wins.
Oakhaven Branch Executive Director Evelyn Young had to repeatedly answer questions about meals not being delivered because of the government shutdown. Oakhaven Branch Executive Director Evelyn Young had to repeatedly answer questions about meals not being delivered because of the government shutdown.
As of Wednesday, local community members responded to the problem. As of Wednesday, local community members responded to the problem.

(WMC-TV) - Hundreds of Memphis children felt an immediate impact of the government shutdown. Free meals they count on nightly were suddenly suspended.

Those meals are normally distributed to six local Boys & Girls Club locations. Officials are preparing those clubs to be without food until further notice.

Six-year-old Jonnica got fed when she got home Tuesday, but the same could not be said for every other child at the Oakhaven branch Boys & Girls Club.

"Some people depend on their kids to eat when they come here because you never know if it's their last meal or their first meal," said mother Shaneka McGee.

Oakhaven Branch Executive Director Evelyn Young had to repeatedly answer questions about meals not being delivered because of the government shutdown. Officials had to explain to families that federally funded free meals, delivered by the charity Building Futures, were suspended until further notice.

"One of the girls said 'How can they shut down a program that first lady Obama started?' So we had to explain it's a lot more than one person making a decision," said Young.

Around 700 children are fed daily at the six Boys & Girls Club locations in Memphis, where they are preparing to go without until either side in Washington wins.

"And it means a lot of people are disagreeing about decision that need to be made. So, that's a learning process, too, we're able to share," said Young.

Young said she may go out and buy hot dogs for the kids, but the longer the shutdown the more difficult things will become.

As of Wednesday, local community members responded to the problem. Tracie Betts and her colleagues came to the rescue at the Buckman Boys and Girls Club.

She says after she saw the story on Action News 5 Tuesday, she then collected money at work.

"The thought of these children coming in here and not being able to get the food and drinks that they need, we just can't have it," said Betts.

After collecting more than $300, the group came up with six days worth of food.

"It really isn't that much money. It's like 42 cents a day to buy some snacks for the 125 students who come in here every afternoon," said Betts.

Buckman employees say they will continue to fund the Buckman location as long as the government is shutdown.

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