Summer in the Delaware Valley is fast approaching and while most families are looking forward to vacation, thousands of families are scrambling to figure out how to put food on the table over the next three months. Philabundance, the Delaware Valley’s largest hunger relief organization, is gearing-up to provide more food to families with children this summer.
Close to 300,000 students in the Delaware Valley are enrolled in the school meal program that provides free and reduced lunches during the school year. Families that participate in the school meals program may struggle to put more food on the table this summer to feed their children to cover the missed meals. This basic necessity can seem like a daunting task when faced with a small food budget.
In Philadelphia, School District budget cuts will reduce the amount of programs offered in the summer, further reducing the availability of meal programs for many children this year. Only 10,000 students will be enrolled in summer programs this year, compared to 19,000 last year. While in the suburban counties, meal programs are very difficult to access and some families may have to travel far to get to programs that offer these meals.
“Summer is a tough month for families in our region as well as for the hunger relief organizations trying to keep up with the ever increasing demand,” said Bill Clark, president and executive director of Philabundance. “A family of four with two school-aged children who participate in the school meals program need to provide 40 more meals every month this summer which adds $110 to $125 to the monthly grocery bill, which is just not feasible for many families across the Delaware Valley.”
Philabundance and hunger relief organizations across the region tend to see an uptick in the amount of families going to them for food because children are out of school while food donations tend to drop causing a strain on the charitable food network. Philabundance needs community support all year round, especially in the summer.
If you or someone you know is struggling this summer, please call Philabundance’s Food Help Line, 800-319-Food (3663). Visit www.philabundance.org/summermeals for more resources:
- Summer meal resources
- Recipes for meals on a budget
- Eating well on a budget (Sesame Street’s Food For Thought Tool Kit)
- How to hold a summer food drive
- How to talk to your kids about hunger
- Hunger-related book list
If you are looking for ways to give back, www.philabundance.org/summermeals can help you find the opportunity that is right for you. Whether you hold a cereal drive or volunteer at Philabundance’s Hunger Relief Center, you will make a difference. Donating money also helps because Philabundance can provide two meals for one dollar.
For more information, please visit www.philabundance.org or call 215-339-0900.
Philabundance reduces hunger and food insecurity in the Delaware Valley by providing food access to people in need in partnership with organizations and individuals. Philabundance provides a full plate of services through direct service programs and a network of close to 500 member agencies in 9 counties. Philabundance serves approximately 65,000 people per week at a cost of 50 cents per meal. There are more than 900,000 people in the Delaware Valley who are at risk for chronic hunger and malnutrition. In 2011, Philabundance distributed 21 million pounds of food. For more information about Philabundance, visit www.philabundance.org or call 215-339-0900. Visit us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter. If you or someone you know is in need of food assistance, please call Philabundance’s Food Help Line, 800-319-Food (3663).