Imagine a child like Mia, who has counted down the final days of the school year and the start of her summer vacation. She eagerly awaits the longer, sunshine-filled and homework-free days, when she can play outside with her friends from dawn until dusk.
For far too many families in Southwest Florida, however, the carefree joy of the summer months is overshadowed by worrying about not having enough to eat. Mia’s parents never imagined their family would find themselves in a situation where providing food becomes a daily challenge and concern. They didn’t think it would ever happen to them. They both work six days a week in the service industry, but lately, because of the rapidly rising cost of living and being a primary caregiver to Mia’s elderly grandmother, their paychecks do not go as far as they once did. Some months, after paying the bills and buying prescription medications, they simply don’t have enough money left to purchase healthy food. This unfortunate scenario is the case for many of the families your food bank serves across the 6,552 square miles of Southwest Florida.
There is a common misconception the holidays are the most challenging time of the year for households who are food insecure. In fact, the need is greatest in the summer. In May, students who leave behind their classes and textbooks are also leaving behind the availability of free and/or reduced breakfast and lunch options at school. Without these consistent meals in the summer, children are at a greater risk than ever of going hungry. No school means no food. School is out, but hunger is not.
Because Harry Chapin Food Bank prides itself on being a “healthy” food bank, we are proactively fighting against the summer hunger season through offering In-School Pantry Program and Harry’s Helpings sites at various summer camps across our five-county footprint, our Fulfill Mobile Pantry Program distributions, and supporting our partner agencies. These programs are designed to sustain children and their families now and in the summer months ahead.
When families like Mia’s visit one of our Fulfill Mobile Pantry Program distributions, they are often surprised and grateful to see how much healthy and nutritious food is available. Your food bank provides a wide variety of options, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, bread, canned goods, and even special treats like cookies and crackers, are offered so parents can be rest assured they will not only be able to make ends meet, but also that their growing children will receive the nutrients they need.
With the ongoing need for food in the communities your food bank serves, there are too many other families like Mia’s who need help. That’s why we’re asking for your support as we launch our Summer: Healthiest Season of All Campaign.
Your gift will ensure children like Mia can make lasting memories with their loved ones during summer vacation in Southwest Florida instead of waking up or going to bed hungry. Will you partner with us in our vision to transform summer from the hungriest to the healthiest season of all? Your contribution will have a significant impact on the lives of families throughout our community. Thank you for your generosity.