Summer is the hungriest season of the year for millions of kids

May 16, 2022
by Feeding America staff

Most kids love summer vacation. But not all.

For the more than 22 million children who depend on school breakfast and lunch programs, summer vacation means worrying about when they’ll eat next.

Iker is one of those kids. When school’s out, he misses his classes, teachers, friends – and he especially misses school breakfasts and lunches. Watch Iker’s story.

I'm a kid but I don't feel like one because of how much I worry about and all the the responsibilities I have at home. Iker

Iker and his family receive food from his local community center in Phoenix, Arizona, a partner of the Feeding America network of food banks, food pantries and meal programs. “If they didn’t give out food, we wouldn’t be eating what we normally eat,” he says. “Because what they give us is pretty much what we have.”

Hunger can have lifelong consequences for children, making it more difficult for them to learn, play and connect with kids their age. Latino families, like Iker’s, also experience hunger at a much higher rate year-round. And although children in every community in the country face hunger during the summer, rural communities are hit especially hard. That’s the case for Zoey’s family in West Monroe, Louisiana.

Zoey in red and white striped t-shirt and blue jeans sitting on ground

When there’s not enough food in the fridge to feed everyone, “my mom and dad have to go without because they want us kids to have food in our stomachs,” Zoey says. “The food bank is a place where my family gets help getting food. It helps my family because sometimes we don’t have as much.”

Food banks are doing everything they can to meet the need in their communities this summer, but they can’t do it alone.

As you read this, many food pantries and community organizations are facing a funding shortfall that may force them to shut down summer and afterschool meal programs. And with food prices on the rise, millions of kids and families are vulnerable to hunger this summer.

We need your support now more than ever. Here are a few ways you and your family can help kids facing hunger this summer and beyond.

  1. Volunteer: There are tons of opportunities to volunteer - virtually and in person - at your local food bank or food pantry. Learn more about volunteering.
  2. Advocate: Feeding America is calling on Congress to support programs that feed millions of children this summer and beyond – please add your voice now.
  3. Donate: The Feeding America network of food banks needs to provide 33 million meals for kids this summer, and we need your help now and in the months to come. Every dollar you give can help provide at least 10 meals. Donate today. Millions of children are counting on us to take action. Let’s not miss the chance to do so.
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