Schools across N.C. are out for the summer, and here at the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, out team has kicked off our 9th summer administrating the Kids Summer Meals Program.

School’s out, but hunger isn’t

Kids Summer Meals is our nickname for the USDA’s program to ensure children in low-income areas continue to receive nutritious meals during long school vacations when they do not have access to school lunch or breakfast. At the Food Bank, our role is providing food for breakfasts, lunches, and snacks at no cost to 170 partner feeding sites at schools, churches, and youth centers.

In 2016, we helped provide nearly 270,000 Kids Summer Meals to more than 8,200 children, and we expect another big year this summer. That’s because of the nearly 637,000 food-insecure neighbors living in our 34-county service area, almost one-third are children.

For these kids, no school means no school meals. For their families, summer vacation creates an extra burden for families already struggling to consistently put food on the table. That’s precisely what our Summer Food Service Program Supervisor, Mercedes Sanders, told the News & Observer recently:

Sanders said children of low-income families are at the highest risk of hunger during the summer.

“Families’ budgets are stretched throughout the summer with the kids being out of school,” she said. “There may be extra childcare costs, extra energy costs, and the parents still have to go to work.”

You can make a difference this summer

Stop Summer Hunger is our annual initiative to nourish children, families, and individuals during this season of increased need. In addition to Kids Summer Meals, we work extra hard to keep shelves stocked for our network of Partner Agency food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters who experience an uptick during the summer.

You can help us reach the goal of 3.4 million meals before July 31 and ensure that all our neighbors in need receive the daily, nutritious meals they need to be healthy and strong. Contribute today to our Stop Summer Hunger food and funds drive.

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