Addressing issues of food insecurity in your community is important throughout the year, though this need is often forgotten during the summer months. The old National Education Association photo of the sandwich and apple obtained from Google images looks appealing, though many children do not have access to these great nutrients while on break from school. Food donations and hunger issues come to mind for many
individuals during the holiday season or cold weather seasons. Summer months
also have people in need of food due to unemployment, under-employment,
limitations in benefits from the state. Another factor in summertime hunger is
school children who benefited from the reduced cost or low-income lunch and
breakfast servings. During the summer break, these children do not get the free
or low-cost lunch and breakfasts and may not be able to take in enough nourishment
to maintain healthy growth and development.
Studies have shown that children perform better in school if they are getting proper meals and have reliable food resources. However, students with the summer break from school put more strain on family’s limited food supply. Food insecurity can result in some children eating once a day or even less frequently. Parents sometimes report skipping food intake so that their children can have more food. School systems in your area may already have a program established to address student’s nutritional needs while on break.
Make sure your funds or food donations help reduce local nutritional needs. Methods of exploring food resources or deficits in your community:
1.Call your local food shelf or food bank and ask what food item(s) they frequently run short of before the next supply.
2.Ask about their donation preferences – some food pantries would rather receive money versus food items. Cash donations allow them to purchase items they frequently run short of and reduces storage needs. If a donor gives them 48 cans of beans, they must store those cans until they go out the door with a customer or approach their expiration date.
3.Some food banks also offer non-perishable items such as toilet paper, diapers, and dishcloths.
4.Additional workers may be the issue of greatest need. Ask your local food pantry if they are in need of contributions of time and muscle function to assist with restocking. Asking the Food Bank Director or point-person about other options for donating if you have budget restrictions or food-resource issues of your own.
5.Consider offering surplus yield items from your garden if the local food shelf accepts farm or garden produce donations. Fresh home-grown produce is fantastic and may be less frequent items of dietary intake for individuals with food insecurity.