To help reach children at risk of hunger during the summer months when schools—and school cafeterias—are closed, C&S Wholesale Grocers and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign announced a joint initiative to address child hunger.
“Summer can be the hungriest time of year for kids across the country because they no longer have access to meals during the school day. But thanks to the support from C&S, we are ensuring that more kids get the food they need during this critical time, so they can start the school year ready to learn,” said Chuck Scofield, Executive Vice President of Share Our Strength.
Expanding Access to Summer Meals
While the National Summer Meals program has operated consistently for over fifty years since its inception, the problem of child hunger has expanded to include urban, rural and suburban communities.
After a competitive request for proposal process, grants were made to 30 nonprofit organizations/programs in six states where C&S has a presence: Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont. The funding will result in an estimated 640,000 meals being served to children this summer. It will enable new summer meals sites to start, with a variety of meal options available such as breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner five days a week.
Homes as Summer Meals Sites
In rural areas, limited public transportation and fewer summer meals sites represent obstacles for kids in low-income families. No Kid Hungry initiated a successful pilot program in 2017 whereby owners of private homes volunteered to serve as summer meals sites in a rural Colorado town. Funding from C&S will enable further testing and expansion of the model and will involve 175 homes as new summer meals sites, with the goal of reaching a projected 875 children.
Getting the Word Out about Summer Meals
For the fourth year in a row, with support from C&S, No Kid Hungry and First Book have collaborated on a “book bundles” initiative. The initiative provided books to engage kids at summer meals sites and provided kids with bookmarks with the National Summer Meals Texting Hotline number, a texting line populated with information from all 50 states that provides users with the address of their closest summer meals site based on their zip code. The texting line was promoted on 150,000 bookmarks and 6,000 information sheets distributed around the country.
Reaching Summer Meals Leaders
Last December, with sponsorship from C&S, the No Kid Hungry Summer Meals Summit welcomed 250 attendees from 35 states across the country. The two-day Summer Meals Summit covered a range of issues and strategies for state agencies, nonprofit organizations, and summer meals sponsors to share best practices. C&S has been a No Kid Hungry Summer Meals Summit sponsor since 2015.