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Childhood hunger is actually at its worst during the summer months. Low-income families who rely on school meals to nourish their children during the school year are struggle to feed their families. Here are some facts you may not know:
Across Harvesters’ 26-county service area, an estimated 100,000 children receive free and reduced-price school meals during the school year. Research shows that children consume up to 50 percent of their total daily calories at school during the school year.
The Summer Food Service Program, the federal nutrition program intended to feed children in summer, serves only a fraction of those in need.In both Kansas and Missouri, SFSP programs serve less than 10 percent of children receiving school meals.
Food banks like Harvesters know better than anyone that kids aren’t getting enough to eat during the summer. As the school year ends, the pantries and kichens in our network see an increase in the need for food assistance.
The average household food budget for families with children actually increases up to $300 each month during the summer which can cause a hardship for many families.
Harvesters’ Kids Cafe program will serve more than 120,000 meals this summer. Kids Cafe sites include parks, swimming pools and spray parks, as well as library branches, community centers and schools.
Harvesters’ summer BackSnack program will provide nearly 10,000 BackSnacks to 2,000 children for 12 to 15 weeks this summer.
Child food insecurity remains a serious problem in our region. One in six children is at risk of hunger, and in our service area, only 59 percent of the food insecure children qualify for federal nutrition programs such as SNAP (food stamps), WIC or free and reduced-price school meals.
Here are some ways you can help:
Give Food – Help feed hungry children this summer by supporting Kansas City metro Price Chopper stores No School=No Lunch campaign. Scan $1, $5 or a $10 donation at the checkout or donate kid-friendly food in the Harvesters’ donation barrels in each store. You also can participate in the Our Community CAN food drive in July. Sign up to particiate and get more information on this drive at http://harvesters.org/Give-Food/Our-Community-CAN-Food-Drive
Give Time – Bring your family, work or civic group to Harvesters to help sort and repackage food for those at risk of hunger. And when you come to volunteer, bring at least one or two nonperishable food donations with you. Sign up online at www.harvesters.org. Click on Give Time.
Give Money –Team up to take on hunger and the Cleveland Indians! Help us throw out the first pitch in our third annual virtual food drive to fight summer hunger. This year, Harvesters and the Kansas City Royals are challenging the Greater Cleveland Foodbank and the Indians to see which community can raise the most meals. Donate at www.stepuptotheplate.harvestersvfd.org. The drive kicks off August 17.
Give Voice –Visit our website to register for updates on hunger-related legislation and become a hunger advocate.
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