We’re entering our second week of the Summer Food Service Program and are starting to see children lining up at our lunch sites. It’s certainly a good thing that these kids in need are able to locate and travel to a feeding site, but it’s also a raw reminder of the state of childhood hunger in our community. Unfortunately it’s a problem that all communities across the United States are facing.
AOL News published an article that provides a comprehensive look at our children that are out of school and out of food. The nationwide challenges detailed in the story are mirrored here in Central Florida
Record Number of Kids Facing Summer Of Hunger
WASHINGTON (June 16) — With the school year ending in communities across America, more than 16 million children face a summer of hunger.
While classes were in session, they relied on free or discount cafeteria meals subsidized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But they will not be reached by the patchwork summer food programs financed by the USDA, which feed fewer than one in five of the total number of kids poor enough to qualify.
The children caught in the gap will likely spend the next few months cadging leftovers from neighbors, chowing down on cheap junk, lining up with their families at food banks that are already overmatched or simply learning to live with a constant headache, growling stomach and chronic fatigue. When school rolls around again in the fall, they will be less healthy and less ready to learn than their peers.
The problem is not new, of course, but indicators for a crisis are lining up. Federal studies show that “food insecurity” for children peaks during summer, said USDA spokeswoman Jean Daniel, adding, “That’s a cutting-edge research term for hunger.” Demand for food stamps is already up. Demand at food banks is already way up. Donations, however, are down.