Food for Thought
In the next few weeks the final school bell will ring and kids will scream with joy because summer vacation will be here. Local kids will play computer games, get together with friends, go swimming or have fun at a local park. The majority of school age kids will have a good breakfast and lunch during the day, but their will be many children in our area and across the country who will struggle to get a good meal. They will be lucky to get any food at all. During the school year these kids get a nutritional breakfast and lunch through their school’s meal program, but in the summer they are often left with little or no food. Eighteen million children nationwide depend on school meal programs for a decent breakfast and lunch. When summer comes along they often miss at least one and perhaps two meals a day depending on the severity of their family financial situation. Every kid deserves three meals a day and no kid should have to suffer the emotional and physical pain of being under nourished.
This is a heartbreaking issue but many of us can help these kids.
Here are three easy ways we can ensure a kid doesn’t have to go hungry on a regular basis:
1) Donate to www.feedingamerica.org
An organization has been established specifically to help under nourished children in need. The organization is called Feeding America.
They offer programs in communities across the United States and for every dollar you donate they can provide up to eleven meals. Ninety Eight percent of the funds they receive will be used for their food programs. Feeding America puts an emphasis on summer meals! Donate directly via their website www.feedingamerica.org
2) Help Local Organizations who provide meals
There are many local food banks, food drives, soup kitchens and even food donation bins in front of stores. All of these are designed to make it easy to help those who are less fortunate. Several shelters in our area count on volunteers to serve meals and they encourage local families to donate one or two meals a month to families in need. You can Google: Food Donations and you will find one near you. The United Way, Red Cross, St. Vincent DePaul and many churches sponsor these programs on a regular basis.
3) Invite a kid to lunch or dinner
Have your child’s friend over for lunch or dinner. We all know someone who is in a worse situation than we are and they are usually too proud to ask for help. Do the asking for them. Tell them they are always welcome at mealtime and make them feel that they are a part of the family. If you have leftovers, send them home with a little extra food.
In the summertime, the days are warm and seem to last forever. Once school is out, most kids play all day and don’t have to worry about anything. Unfortunately, some kids worry about where their next meal will come from. We should all step up to the plate and put some food on it. If we work to make sure kids in need are fed they can have a carefree summer too!