Summer Hunger: Awareness, Access, Action By: Shannon Hand

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Imagine walking into the kitchen, repeatedly opening the refrigerator and finding that there is nothing to be found but cold air and disappointment. Now, imagine doing that every day for 70 days. Sounds tough, right? Well, that is the reality for thousands of children in the state of Georgia each summer.

During the 2013-2014 school year, more than 870,000 students depended on the free or reduced-price lunch program, according to NoKidHungry.org.  Shockingly, only 15 percent of these children received lunch during the summer. This is why we need to continue to spread awareness to parents, children, and childcare providers about the summer meals program. For anyone looking for food for their children or hoping to help feed hungry kids in the summer, it is an invaluable resource.

As a Youth Ambassador for the Georgia Food Bank Association, it is a mission of mine to increase numbers like 15 percent, and decrease the amount of children who lack the resources to eat throughout the day.

The Georgia Food Bank Association, in cooperation with Bright From the Start and School Nutrition Authorities, promote the summer meal programs to families across the state of Georgia. We partner with local community organizations to offer sites where children are able to eat free meals throughout the summer – an opportunity they would not have otherwise. As stated earlier, only 15 percent of children take advantage of this amazing opportunity, and that is a direct result of the lack of awareness among children, parents, and organizations in the community.

It is time to take hunger personal. As a child who once struggled with hunger, it is not difficult for me to express the importance of having access to a dependable resource to find meals throughout the summer. With the help of http://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks you can find out where the summer meals are located closest to you.

Now it’s time for you to take action! Make it a mission of yours to spread awareness around summer hunger or help a family that you know get connect to a meal site, by visiting http://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks. Take hunger personal, make it your #deedtofeed.

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