During the academic year throughout our region, 8 out of 10 local school children qualify for school-based meals through the Free and Reduced-Price Meal Program, which often provides lunch and snacks as well as breakfast each day. During our scorching hot summers, when budgets are tightest, kids are hungriest, and school is out of session, fewer than 1 in 10 local kids will continue to have access to school-based nutrition.
In previous years, the Kids’ Summer Club offered a 10-week distribution of healthy, kid-friendly food and snacks that reached over 6,000 children and their families weekly in 42 different locations, providing a Farmers’ Market atmosphere with fresh produce. As the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic linger, so does the number of children facing food insecurity. Of the 150,000 people we’re feeding on average each month, about 67,000 people are between 0 and 18 years old. A staggering hunger cliff that can only be addressed with immediate food assistance through the summer.
This year, FIND continues to reach kids where they are with 12 school site partnerships offering drive-thru style food distributions. Operating 44 community mobile markets throughout the month for the last year and a half has helped bridge the gap for the additional 60,000 people we’re feeding on average each month in comparison to pre-pandemic levels.
Nutrition education is a central component of the Kids Summer Club. Kids are able to learn what fruits and vegetables they enjoy, how to use them, and how a balanced diet empowers us to be our best. This program is essential in the fight to end hunger while helping to build healthier lives and a brighter future. While we continue our drive-thru distributions that ensure the safety of the community, FIND will meet kids where they are – online – by sharing fun facts and recipes about the fresh produce we’ll offer at our distributions.
Follow us on for the freshest word on our produce!
Facebook & Twitter: @FINDFoodBank
FIND Food Bank also works with our community-based distribution partners to determine summer program needs that help them reach as many young people as possible. And we try to reach not only those kids who are able to participate in summer programs, but also siblings left at home — on the weekends, we send extra food home for others living there, which helps bridge the nutrition gap for another weekend.