On April 24th, Second Harvest joined supporters of the Children’s Trust at the Orange County Board of County Commission meeting to urge Commissioners to place language on the upcoming 2018 ballot to support a dedicated funding source for children welfare services. The Children’s Trust would create a special taxing district that would be implemented through property taxes. The funding would go towards dedicated child services, such as mental health, childhood nutrition, housing and others. For more information on the Children’s Trust, click here. To view the Commission meeting, visit Orange TV here.
My name is Kelly Quintero and I serve as the Director of Advocacy and Government Relations for Second Harvest Food Bank located at 411 Mercy Drive 32805.
I want you to think back when you were younger (probably just a few years for some of you), and think about getting home from school and searching the pantry for an after school snack. I can vividly remember having an after school snack and telling my mom about my day at school.
For 64,750 children in Orange County, they get home from school and there is no after school snack for them. Not only is there no snack for them, but they do not know where their next meal will come from. They are what we call food insecure children.
So far this school year, we have provided 2,900 weekend packs for students to take home in Orange County. Sometimes there just isn’t enough food at home or no one is home to cook for them.
Last summer, we had 94 summer food program sites across Orange County with 280,000 meals in 51 days to any kid 18 years and younger. We often provide the only hot meal they have in a day through this program. This barely scrapes the surface of the children in need here in Orange County.
Many kids look forward to summer break and they think about what adventures it will hold for them, but for hungry kids, they can’t think about anything but what they’re going to eat next.
Commissioners, this isn’t just about feeding children, it’s about improving the health of our community. When we as a community do not provide proper nutrition for our children, their education suffers, they are more likely to have poor health, including depression and this will affect the health of the workforce in Central Florida. They are consequently stuck in the cycle of poverty right here in our backyards.
Hungry students are less likely to focus on their education. Investing in the success of our youth means a brighter future for us all.
We cannot do this alone. We urge you to support putting the Children’s Service Council on the ballot to allow the public to vote on whether Orange County children have a chance to succeed.