PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — A nonprofit group helping to keep children in New Hampshire and Maine from going hungry over the weekend is growing quickly, and organizers have developed a training program so it can be replicated across the United States.

End 68 Hours of Hunger is a volunteer-run organization that provides backpacks or bags of food every Friday for children who otherwise would go hungry over the weekend. It started with 19 Dover children two years ago and now includes 17 programs serving nearly 700 children in southern Maine and New Hampshire’s seacoast region.

Founder Claire Bloom, a retired U.S. Navy lieutenant commander, told the Portsmouth Herald (http://bit.ly/1efiimv) that the town of Vacaville, Calif., will be starting a program soon, and she has developed a manual and training materials for other communities.

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