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Summer Isn’t Fun For All: Childhood Hunger When School is Out

Summer Isn’t Fun For All: Childhood Hunger When School is Out

Summer vacation in Florida can last up to 12 weeks. For kids who count on school meal programs to stay healthy, summer vacation could mean three months of worry and hunger. One in five children in Florida may be experiencing hunger, a problem that is only intensified when school is out. Our partners at Feeding America have collected a few of these stories from children facing the harsh reality of hunger. Each child has a unique story and unique struggle getting through the summer. 

 

Meet Iker…

Iker is only 9 years old, but his concern is where his next meal will come from while his school is closed for summer vacation. His family struggles with food insecurity and the lack of food access during the summer months makes this time of year especially difficult for them. "I'm a kid but I don't feel like one because of how much I worry about and all the responsibilities I have at home.” Not only is Iker worried about getting food himself, he’s also concerned about having enough to provide for his family. "If my school didn't give out food, we wouldn't be eating what we normally eat. Because what they give us is pretty much what we have. It's really hard because otherwise we wouldn't have food.“ 

 

Meet Zoey…

An 8-year-old child should never worry about where their family’s next meal will come from, but that’s the reality for Zoey. “My mom and dad have to go without [food] just so that us kids can have food in our stomachs,” says Zoey about the sacrifices her parents have had to make. During the school year, Zoey’s lunch and snacks are covered by in-school meal programs, but the summer months leave her family relying heavily on our food banks. "The food bank helps us because it gives us food to eat. It gives us cereal and milk. It gives us lunch and dinner too.” Her family’s struggle with hunger has unfortunately shaped Zoey and will continue to leave a long-lasting impact. “My family is big. But if I had a wish for them, it would be that we all have food to eat.”

 

Meet Luis…

Thanks to school meal programs, Luis is able to receive snacks and lunch daily. However, when summer vacation rolls around, Luis and his family must rely on their local Feeding Florida food bank. "There's no lunch at home during the summer. I wouldn't be having lunch if it wasn’t for the food bank.” At only 10 years old, Luis is having to plan out visits to his local food bank so that he and his family do not go hungry. 

 

 

What you can do…

Summer hunger is real and it’s impacting people across our state. However, you have the power to provide some relief. There are several ways to provide support to Feeding Florida’s food banks and help combat hunger during the summer months.

 

  • One of the simplest ways to join the fight is to donate to your local food bank. The funds our food banks collect help to purchase food at a lower cost than food you buy at a grocery store, meaning each dollar can be stretched that much further. 
  • You can also donate your time and volunteer at a meal distribution, food packing event or donation sorting at your local food bank. 
  • Want to get your friends, family or fellow employees involved? Plan a food drive or donation drive to collect goods or funds for your local Feeding Florida food bank. 

 

Children experiencing hunger in the state of Florida are focused on just getting through the summer, but with your help, we can help provide relief during this season and let them hope for a brighter future. 

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