Children are at increased risk of hunger in the summer when school is out and they are no longer receiving lunch and possibly breakfast at school. Many of the schools in this area have free and reduced lunch participation of 50% and more, indicating that the majority of children are living in homes below or slightly above the poverty level. These families are already struggling to make ends meet. Children need to eat. Having them home all day puts an even bigger strain on the family budget.
The general public assumes that food shelves and other non-profit hunger relief organizations feel the most pressure from clients in the winter, especially at the holidays. But in reality the need is great all year, and the summer is particularly difficult because community support drops off. At the same time, families with children at home in the summer visit food shelves and soup kitchens more frequently in order to meet their increased need for food.
There are some summer feeding programs for children available in the area, but they are few and far between. Children in isolated rural areas are unable to access these programs and depend on their families for food. Helping these families is a real challenge.
Have you ever noticed un-identified children hanging around a large picnic or party in your local park or community center? They may be children from the area who are looking for a meal wherever they can find one. Hard as it is to believe, we have real hunger in our communities. Please feed these kids and support the efforts of Second Harvest to end hunger.