Posts Tagged ‘ summer food programs ’

When Children Don’t Have Enough to Eat

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

l_101737267In our July issue we have a story about hunger in the U.S. It’s a true crisis—one in four children in this country are considered food-insecure, meaning they live in a home that has difficulty providing food for all its members. We profiled two such families in our story. One is in California: The mom, Amy, works part time, and dad Otis (who has a master’s degree) has been underemployed for the past few years; they need to rely on their local food pantry to help feed their two children, ages 3 and 7. The other family is in Philadelphia: Tangela is a single mom of two children, 2 and 3, and she also helps support her teenage siblings. She works full-time, receives food stamps, and still finds herself coming up short—and, along with the rest of her family, often hungry—every month. (You can meet Tangela in this short video, which I hope you’ll watch.)

Summer is a particularly rough time for many families struggling with hunger, because children don’t get the free or low-cost breakfasts and lunches they get during the school year. Federally funded summer food programs exist, but they’re often underutilized. If you need these services or want to implement them in your community, you can ask your school or local rec center whether it’s participating in these federal programs. Or call the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY. Feeding America, the country’s largest network of food pantries, offers more information about summer programs and provides a phone number to get more details on putting them in place. You can also offer to help organize volunteers to distribute food at parks and playgrounds

If there’s anything positive to say about this distressing topic, it’s that help is available—as are many opportunities to assist others. We’re hoping that our story will give families an opportunity to make a difference, and feel a difference.

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