22 Million Kids At Risk of Summer Hunger When School is Out for the Summer
For most kids, summer is a time of fun and excitement, but for 22 million kids in communities across the country it also may mean the end of access to the free or reduced price meals that nourish them during the school year. That means for every five kids participating in the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs, four will lose access to those meals as public schools close for the summer.
Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, along with the Atlanta Community Food Bank and the Atlanta Braves, hosted a special volunteer event today with Jason Grilli, a member of Feeding America’s Entertainment Council and pitcher for the Braves.
“I’m honored to be kicking off Feeding America’s Say No to Summer Hunger events to help raise awareness of child hunger,” Grilli said. “If flipping grilled cheese sandwiches for an afternoon helps catch some attention for the issue, then I’m all for it.”
The event was held at one of the Atlanta Community Food Bank’s partner agencies, The Study Hall, which is a non-profit organization that provides after-school and summer camp programming for low-income elementary school children in the greater Peoplestown community in Atlanta.
After taking a tour of the The Study Hall, Grilli fired up the grills and served his favorite lunch item—grilled cheese sandwiches—to more than 60 kids, ages 5 through 11. The Study Hall is located in Fulton County where according to recent Feeding America Map the Meal Gap data, more than 54,000 children are food insecure, which means they may not know where they’ll find their next meal. The state of Georgia has the fifth highest food-insecurity rate in the country.
“Every summer we see a spike in need, as more families come more often to the food pantries our network serves,” said Matt Knott, president of Feeding America. “Last year, more than 130 Feeding America food banks helped distribute nearly 8 million meals to children at 4,200 sites like The Study Hall, but this still isn’t enough. We cannot let our children go without nutrition and support when school is out.”
That’s why Feeding America is teaming up with its Entertainment Council members like Grilli and hosting a series of Say No to Summer Hunger events across the country. Summer hunger is a reality for millions of kids in the United States, and our children need our community support.
The food components to make the event’s grilled cheese sandwiches were provided by partners of the Atlanta Braves, Kroger and Nature’s Own.
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Feeding America is the nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 46 million people through 60,000 food pantries and meal programs in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.