Food for Thought
Summer is a difficult time for hungry children in our community. When school is out, children enrolled in the free or reduced price meal program lose two meals per day. This need is significant, but many organizations respond with programs and partnerships that distribute nutritious food and increase awareness of summer feeding programs.
In Cook County, 1 in 5 children are hungry. During the school year, 50.6 million free or reduced price meals were served. But when summer begins, hunger remains. In 2013, more than 18 million meals were needed during the summer in order to fill the gap left when children no longer received school meals. Yet, only 3.4 million meals were served.
But, there are solutions.
The Food Depository’s Lunch Bus makes 21 stops in Cook County every weekday, June through August. The program served more than 33,000 meals last summer. Meanwhile, the Kids Cafe program served 189,000 meals at 68 sites. In addition to the Kids Cafe and Lunch Bus programs, the Food Depository distributed more than 150,000 pounds of food every day during the summer to member agencies, assuring children and their families have fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and canned items available to them when they’re needed most.
And it doesn’t stop there.
The Food Depository is part of a group of organizations dedicated to providing summer meals and raising awareness for meal programs.
Overall, the Food Depository aims to serve more than 282,000 meals to children this summer.
Ways to access information about meal sites:
- Twitter- @SummerMealsIL
- Facebook- facebook.com/summermealsillinois
- Text FOODIL or ALIMENTOSIL to 877877
- Call the Illinois Hunger Coalition Hotline at 1-800-359-2163.
- )Share the above information through your social media channels to help raise awareness
- )Tell your lawmakers that childhood hunger is unacceptable. Send emails, letters, or set up a meeting.
- )Tell your friends and go get a meal!
What you can do: