Many kids who rely on school meals struggle to get enough to eat during the summer months. Free summer meal programs - at schools and community centers - are the answer.
This summer the COVID-19 has made it even more important to help the less fortunate in our communities. To help make a difference this month Vivid Pods will be donating 15% of it's sales to the charity No Kid Hungry.
Summertime: for most, it brings to mind carefree days, snacking on popsicles, running barefoot, family vacations, sleeping late and playing with friends. Unfortunately, for many families, it is a time of high stress. Some parents can't afford to provide meals for their children. During the school year, there are breakfast and lunch programs to supplement the children's nutrition. However, when school is out, it is all up to the parents to provide all the meals, every day.
In the United States, 22 million children would go hungry if it weren't for the subsidized breakfast and lunch at school. That directly translates to how many children go hungry in the summer months. In 2014, 15.3 million children were considered food insecure, meaning they cannot count on getting regular meals at home.
Hunger and food insecurity can cause extreme stress and embarrassment in children and can impact their neurological and physical development. There is some evidence that suggests a distinct learning gap between children who received adequate nutrition over the summer and those who did not.
Fortunately, there is state-administered, federally funded help available. The Summer Food Service Program funds summer food service programs providing a way for families to feed their kids between school years.
The SFSP provides supplemental nutrition for children and teens 18 years old and younger. Not only can a summer lunch program serve meals to hungry children, but it can provide fun and exciting activities for youth that might otherwise get into trouble.
No Kid Hungry helps families by giving them access to several programs that can provide the assistance they need. We provide outreach services and resources to individuals or organizations that are interested in ensuring hungry children get fed. Our summer texting program allows caregivers, parents or grandparents to text "FOOD" (877-877) to receive directions to the nearest summer food program site. Instructions are also available for Spanish speaking families by texting "COMIDA."
What We Can Do
There are many ways you can assist, based on resources or skills. In our outreach materials, we highlight the ways you can help with summer food programs:
For more information on how No Kid Hungry provides access to free meals, to download resources on how to start a program, or to find out more about how you can help, contact us today.
All across the country, schools and community groups run summer meal sites where kids can eat breakfast and lunch for free. No Kid Hungry helps local organizations launch and operate these sites, and we also help fund needed equipment like mobile meals trucks.
But neighborhood meals sites aren't much good if families don't know about them. That's why No Kid Hungry runs a summer meals texting service. Parents, grandparents, and caregivers can text ‘FOOD’ to 877-877 to find free summer meal sites in their neighborhoods.
Thanks to the support from our partners and donors, over a million families have used our texting service to find healthy meals for their children.