How you can impact child hunger
As many citizens struggle in our community, I want to shine a light on those who often struggle in silence: children. Across the nation, reports show that households with children are far more likely to be food insecure than households without. Nearly 50,000 children across southwest Missouri alone are at-risk of going to bed hungry tonight.
Ozarks Food Harvest works continuously to address child hunger through its services and programs such as the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and the Weekend Backpack Program. While school is suspended during the COVID-19 situation, CACFP sites have transitioned to SFSP sites to ensure children still have access to food. The Weekend Backpack Program continues to distribute to all participating schools which are utilizing a drive- thru system or home delivery.
I’m writing today to ask for your help to make sure children continue to receive the nutrition they need at the most vital stage in their life. We want kids to focus on learning, not wondering where their next meal will come from.
This September, our legislators in Washington D.C. will debate the Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill which provides funding for SFSP and CACFP. These programs cover the gaps in child feeding programs by providing after- school meals and summer meals; essentials for children when they’re not in school.
Children in rural areas often can’t access a summer or after-school feeding program due to transportation issues or a lack of programs in their community. If child feeding program guidelines were modified, organizations like Ozarks Food Harvest would be able to distribute through a mobile meal truck or their Weekend Backpack Program to make sure those hard-to-reach children aren’t forgotten.
That’s why we’re asking Congress to simplify and streamline these programs so more children have something to eat before they go to bed at night.
The staff at Ozarks Food Harvest recently shared a story with me from a client named Amy. She’s a single mom raising three children. “I’ve been buying food every week for my household, but my children are getting older and eat a lot more,” she said. “It just isn’t enough, and it’s hard to afford it. I’m starting to make a choice between lights and food. It’s very tough.”
Simplifying and streamlining child nutrition programs will allow parents like Amy to not have to make the choice between keeping the lights on and keeping their child’s belly full. Investing in our nation’s children, and their future, is something we can all get behind.
I urge you to call or email Sen. Roy Blunt, Sen. Josh Hawley and Rep. Billy Long (see website information below). Ask them to support child nutrition programs that help provide more than 125,000 meals to children in southwest Missouri each year. It’s folks like you that will help us Transform Hunger into Hope.
If you are able, please consider making a gift to support children served by The Food Bank.
Visit ozarksfoodharvest.org or give Bart a call to learn more about how you can help advocate for child hunger in our community.