The summer months should be a time for children to play with friends and enjoy their childhood. Unfortunately, for many kids across the country it is spent worrying about where their next meal will come from.
In the U.S., more than 12 million children receive free or reduced price-breakfast at school, and more than 30.4 million receive lunches through the national school lunch program. For many, school meals are the only consistent food they get in a day, and when the school year ends, so do school meals.
But individuals and businesses can make a difference in the lives of children by supporting Feed the Children’s efforts to fight summer hunger. The nonprofit works with a network of community partners across the country to provide food and essentials to help those who don’t have a stable source of nutrition during the summer months.
“We value our partnership with Feed the Children because it allows us to serve low income families in 15 counties across Atlanta,” said Eric Merriweather, executive director of the African American Association of Georgia. “Most of the people we serve are underemployed and many are mothers. We receive products from Feed the Children on a regular basis which we use to make a real difference in the lives of those we serve.”
According to the Food Research and Action Center, many of the children who face a nutrition gap when the school year ends also are affected disproportionately by summer learning loss. Also known as the “summer slide,” this refers to the loss of academic skills and knowledge over the summer. This means these children return to school in the fall academically behind their higher-income peers and struggling to catch up before classes even begin.
Ronnie, age 11, says being hungry in the summer isn’t as rare as you might think. “It just happens,” he said. “But when you don’t have any more food at home, there’s Feed the Children who helps out.”
Through Feed the Children’s efforts, children have an opportunity to stay active and enjoy their summer. In addition to food and essentials, the nonprofit also provides a selection of books for a wide range of ages at community events across the country which also helps prevent the “summer slide.”
“We have been partnering with Feed the Children for two years,” said Quill Nielsen operations manager for the Midwest Food Bank - Arizona Division. “Through our partnership, we have been able to provide baby food, water, lunch kits and toys to thousands of families across Arizona.”
Through its vast network of community partners, Feed the Children serves families in every state in the U.S. providing hope and resources.
“Feed the Children is dedicated to working with our community partners to make sure children have the food and resources they need not only during the summer months, but also throughout the year,” said Clint McKnight, Director of Domestic Programming at Feed the Children. “We know when we combine our efforts, we can set children up for success and help break the cycle of poverty.”
For more information, visit feedthechildren.org. To make a donation to support our efforts to fight summer hunger across America, visit https://bit.ly/31Dy3mx.