1 in 3 School Children Will Lose Access to Healthy Lunch

Second Harvest Food Bank Launches Campaign to Stop Childhood Hunger During the Summer and All Year Long
By: Second Harvest
SAN JOSE, Calif. - May 16, 2013 - PRLog -- For thousands of local children, summer time means no more school lunch. Right here in wealthy Silicon Valley, 1 in 3 school children rely on free or reduced-price school lunches for part of their daily nutrition. Many of these kids may not get enough to eat this summer, and that puts them at risk for some of the troubling – and lifelong – side-effects of food insecurity.  

“Teachers tell us about the ‘Friday panic’ that sets in on the day before school lets out for the weekend or summer because some students are worried they won’t get enough to eat,” said Kathy Jackson, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. “We have to make sure children and their families have access to nutritious food during the summer and all year long. It’s imperative that we stop childhood hunger.”

Second Harvest Food Bank launched its Stop Childhood Hunger campaign to focus attention on this critical issue. Studies show that children who don’t get enough to eat suffer emotional and physical effects that can hamper their ability to do well in school and succeed later in life. They are more likely to experience anxiety and depression, be unable to concentrate, be sick more often, and be overweight than children who get three meals a day. These issues can have a lifelong impact.

“Making sure kids get enough to eat is one way to help end the cycle of poverty,” Jackson said. “Education is the key to earning a decent living, but hunger can deprive children of the opportunity to get a good education. When kids have the nutritious food they need to thrive, they are better prepared to learn. They have the energy to pursue their dreams.”

The Food Bank is working with its nonprofit partners in communities across Santa Clara and San Mateo counties to ensure that local children get enough to eat. The Food Bank will provide food to nearly 100,000 children each month this summer.

Second Harvest is increasing the amount of food it provides to its partner agencies that serve children, such as pantries, day camps, and other summer youth programs, as well as its food-assistance programs that specifically serve families with children. These include the Food Bank’s Family Harvest (http://www.shfb.org/familyharvest) program, a monthly food distribution held at partner agency sites, and Kids NOW (http://www.shfb.org/kidsnow) (Nutrition On Weekends), a weekly program that sends food home each Friday with children in after-school and youth programs so they have access to food over the weekend.

Second Harvest is providing more foods that can be used for kids’ breakfasts, lunches and afternoon snacks such as peanut butter, turkey dogs, and turkey lunch meat, in addition to other kid-friendly foods like apples and oranges, granola bars, low-sugar cereals, and milk.

The Food Bank’s Produce Mobile (http://www.shfb.org/producemobile) can help families get more fruits and vegetables for their children over the summer and all year long. Second Harvest also helps families apply for CalFresh (http://www.shfb.org/calfresh) (food stamps), which they can use to buy the nutritious groceries they need to feed their children.

Families who are struggling to put food on the table can call Second Harvest’s Food Connection multilingual hotline at 800-984-3663 to learn about food-assistance programs that can help, including summer feeding sites where children can get a meal and CalFresh.

“Second Harvest connects children and their families to available food resources in their own neighborhood,” Jackson said. “That could be a program operated by the Food Bank like Family Harvest, a partner agency program, or a public program such as CalFresh.”

The Food Bank partners with more than 300 nonprofit agencies to provide food at more than 740 sites throughout Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, including pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. Second Harvest Food Bank is one of only a few food banks in the nation that does not charge its partner agencies for the food it provides.

Second Harvest Food Bank needs the community’s support to stop childhood hunger this summer and all year long. To learn more or get involved, visit www.SHFB.org.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties is the trusted leader dedicated to ending local hunger. Since its inception in 1974, Second Harvest has become one of the largest food banks in the nation, providing food to an average of nearly one quarter of a million people each month. The Food Bank mobilizes individuals, companies and community partners to connect people to the nutritious food they need. More than half of the food distributed is fresh produce. Second Harvest also plays a leading role in promoting federal nutrition programs and educating families on how to make healthier food choices. Visit www.SHFB.org to get involved.
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Tags:Childhood Hunger, Education, Food
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