Iowa Kids Struggle to Get Enough to Eat This Summer

SummerFeedingInfographicwlogo

Summer reminds us that the world was created in abundance. With fruit stands popping up on the side of the road and farmers’ markets overflowing, summer is a time to marvel at the bounty of this Earth. Sadly, during this time of seeming abundance, child hunger is actually at its worst. Low-income children who rely on school breakfast and lunch programs for nourishment during the school year are often left without enough to eat. In Iowa, 92.3% of the children who receive meal assistance are not accessing a summer feeding program on any typical summer day. The Iowa Food Bank Association is doing our part to combat summer hunger for Iowa’s children.  But, despite our efforts, we are still only able to reach a fraction of children in need.  From August to May, children are at school. But, every summer, those children are spread across every corner of the state, often in rural communities.  Summer feeding programs are operated in concentrated areas of need, but sites can’t be built down the street for every needy family.  Even if a family wants to access a site across town, often times transportation isn’t available, and little Mark or Mary can’t drive themselves to a site while mom or dad is at work. Summer feeding programs- where available- are essential to closing the summer hunger gap.  We can’t do it alone.  A public/private partnership must be present to continue to fund and develop summer feeding programs across Iowa.  We need more flexibility to reach children who don’t have access to a meal site. Here’s a thought to keep in mind as school in most communities wrap up this week.  Almost half of the the children in Iowa’s 365+ school districts receive free or reduced lunch assistance.  92.3% of them will struggle with hunger over the summer. For most of us, summer conjures up happy memories of savoring sweet corn and juicy watermelon at family cook outs.  But for too many children, summer means HUNGER.  It mean the lethargy and listlessness that accompany unfilled bellies. It means consuming empty, but fulfilling calories that contribute to this nation’s child obesity problem. There is nothing more important to the future of our state, than our children. And, there is nothing more basic than providing them with a nutritious meal.  Join us in urging our elected officials to make the summer hunger gap a top priority. Click here to learn about Iowa’s 8 Feeding America food banks and the programs they provide for Iowa’s nearly 140,000 children who struggle each day with hunger.  FEED THE NEED | NOURISH YOUR NEIGHBOR -Amy Rogalla AmeriCorps VISTA

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Posted on May 29, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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