Most kids are excited about summer, but for some, a break from school can mean a break from meals. Summer is the hungriest time of year for children. Here are some reasons why summer is so difficult for children experiencing food insecurity and ways that you can help during this stressful time of year.
Why is Summer the Hungriest Time of Year?
Food insecurity dramatically increases for families over the summer as children are home during the day, and more food is required. During the summer, kids that generally rely on school breakfast and lunches are left without that resource. This can be a dramatic hit to their daily food intake and leave parents scrambling to find a way to feed their kids.
Food banks also undergo strain during this time of year as more children experience food insecurity, and their parents turn to community resources for help. Donations are not as plentiful over the summer as they are during the holiday season. With more demand on local resources during the summer, it can be difficult for them to keep up with the need.
What are the Consequences?
Hunger can have long-term physical and mental impacts on children. Food insecure kids are at risk for various health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and osteoporosis. These children are also more likely to struggle in school as focusing becomes more complex, and they are more likely to forget what they have learned over a food-scarce summer than their peers.
What You Can Do to Help
Support local backpack programs and donate to summer camps and local food banks dedicated to helping children get meals over the summer. You can help inform parents you know of community resources as they look for ways to feed their children.
You can also donate to programs like the One Initiative that work to donate food to children in need year-round. So far, the One Initiative has donated over 9 million meals to children that need them.
Donations can be made here: https://www.oneagainstchildhoodhunger.com/donate/