Hunger affects a child’s development physically, academically, cognitively and emotionally. Also, hunger never takes a break. As families across Central Florida pause from their normal routines for Spring Break, students who receive free and reduced breakfast and lunch are at risk of missing their regular access to healthy, nutritious meals.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and its feeding partner Washington Park Church worked with Agape Perfecting Praise, Kaley Square and The Mustard Seed of Central Florida to host a day of Community Impact. The event provided a mobile food distribution at the start of Spring Break week, along with new clothing items, for children and families in the Ivey Lane neighborhood of Orlando.
Mother Allison, a grandmother caring for her 17-year-old grandson, was one of the families served at the event. “We juggle bills in our household,” she explains. “But you have to eat first, then pay the light bill.”
A former school assistant from Key West, Allison knows the importance of proper nutrition and a good education. “My grandson is college-bound,” she says with pride. “And next week while he’s out of school he’ll still be there every day for band practice,” Allison adds and says that students in the Jones High School Band are heading to New York’s Carnegie Hall in April for a performance.
“He’s out of school for a week, and I have to feed him, even if its peanut butter sandwiches every day.”
Even though Allison receives SNAP benefits, it won’t cover the additional breakfasts and lunches for her grandson over spring break. At the Community Impact event, Allison was able to take home bread and peanut butter. She also packed fresh cabbage, peppers, potatoes and a watermelon into her box, along with meat, snack bars, and other staple items. The event served enough for 22,824 meals for kids and families in need.