The Reality of Summer Hunger
Hello from the O’Reilly Center for Hunger Relief!
Summertime is upon us. Children are enjoying long days spent playing baseball with their friends or swimming in the neighborhood pool. During this sunny, fun-filled season, parents try to keep their pantries and refrigerators stocked with extra meals and snacks for hungry kids.
However, for many families in the Ozarks, buying more food isn’t an option. As summer begins, many parents, grandparents and guardians begin worrying about how they’re going to feed their children. Food insecure kids aren’t daydreaming about an upcoming vacation or lazy days by the pool: They’re thinking about how they’re going to eat breakfast tomorrow.
Nearly 80 percent of children in southwest Missouri are eligible for free and reduced-price school meals. These kids jumpstart their school days with nutritious breakfasts and are served lunches that help them stay focused and attentive throughout their afternoon classes. So what happens when these meals suddenly disappear?
Fortunately, children can access free meals at Ozarks Food Harvest’s Summer Food partner locations. Ozarks Food Harvest distributes food at 18 sites in 10 different counties. Each summer, these sites provide more than 35,000 meals and snacks. The program focuses on bringing food to places that kids spend time
during the summer: community centers, YMCAs, Boys & Girls Clubs and more.
The availability of summer meals is absolutely critical for struggling families. Parents, grandparents and guardians no longer have to worry about how they will feed their children. And, when kids are confident about where their next meal will come from, they’re able to fully relish in the joys of summertime.
Aubrey, a 10-year-old who spends time at a community center during the summer, shared, “Thank you for donating the animal crackers and granola bars for our snack. We eat them every day. I also like the water bottles. Thank you for helping!”
Today, I’m asking for your help to provide summer meals and snacks for children like Aubrey. A donation of just one dollar will help provide four meals this summer.
Your compassion means the world to hungry neighbors. Make your gift online at ozarksfoodharvest.org/donate, or give Bart a call to learn more about how you can help.
Thank you so much for your continued support of hunger relief in the Ozarks—during the summer and throughout the rest of the year.