Summer is made for neighborhood barbecues, pool parties, and watermelon eating contests. While many of us are looking forward to finding safe ways to gather this summer, these kinds of celebrations are off the table for thousands of families across Central Florida. The financial stress of providing breakfast and lunch for growing kids while schools are closed for the summer can mean gut-wrenching decisions between paying rent or buying groceries. The COVID-19 pandemic has only increased the financial burdens facing families who were living paycheck to paycheck.
“Many of the families we serve are the ones hardest hit by the pandemic,” explains Irene Taylor, co-founder of The IMPACT Outreach Ministry of Central Florida. The ministry is one of 65 community partners supported by Second Harvest Food Bank’s Summer Food Service Program.
Because of your generosity, families with kids 18 and under can turn to places like IMPACT Outreach for free nutritious meals all summer long. Some locations provide a hot meal Monday through Friday, like the popular chicken and black bean burrito. Others distribute a box for families to take home with enough breakfast and lunches for an entire week. These new flexibilities allow Second Harvest to work with its partners to best serve the needs of individual communities.
“These meals have brought families out of isolation and given them new hope,” says Irene.
Parents can bring kids to a safe, welcoming place. Having a routine and interacting with each other has lifted their spirits.
“I tell them we are here to support them. We are in this together.”
Thanks to you, hope isn’t canceled this summer. Instead, kids have full bellies, parents have less worries and everyone will have a brighter tomorrow.