Hunger Never Takes a Summer Vacation
Catholic Charities kicked off its annual Summer Hunger campaign on June 1. This annual effort draws attention to the number of children who qualify for free or reduced breakfast and lunch during the school year, but may not have access to proper nutrition throughout the summer months when school is not in session.
According to statistics provided by the Ohio Department of Education, roughly 52% of students living in our diocese are on a free or reduced lunch program. This percentage is drastically higher in some of our inner cities where poverty rates exceed the state and national averages.
The Summer Hunger campaign aims to alleviate some of the stress that many families face during the summer months. Funds and food items collected throughout this campaign help to provide healthy meal options for school-aged children facing food insecurities during the summer.
The Summer Hunger donations help families such as “Amy’s.” Amy’s four children are enrolled in the reduced lunch program in their school district. When summer vacation started, Amy had a difficult time ensuring that enough food was in their house to feed her children during the day. Instead of providing a meal at dinner for her four children, Amy must now provide breakfast and lunch. This is an additional 40 meals per week added to Amy’s meal budget. Even though she was working, she was unable to stretch the family’s budget enough to include the extra meals that were now needed.
Amy came to Catholic Charities for help with food.
Catholic Charities provided Amy with canned goods and healthy snacks, as well as a food voucher so she could purchase items such as meat, milk, bread and eggs at a local grocery store. Catholic Charities also provided Amy with links to summer food service programs available in her community. The items Amy received from Catholic Charities were available due to donations received through the Summer Hunger Campaign.
Hunger never takes a summer vacation. Food continues to be a pressing need for many people in our diocese, both during the summer and throughout the year. Thousands of families receive food assistance at Catholic Charities each year. Many of these families are working one or more jobs to try and make ends meet, but are still falling short. A box of groceries from Catholic Charities can help a family get through a difficult month.
Catholic Charities Agencies throughout the diocese offer opportunities for clients to obtain necessary food, to share a meal, and collect information and resources to ensure their most basic nutritional needs are met. Some of these programs include: Opening Doors, a parenting program that begins with a family style meal, offered by Catholic Charities of Ashtabula County; Caritas Café, a program of Catholic Charities Serving Portage and Stark Counties offers a light breakfast for guests; and Catholic Charities Regional Agency offers monthly community meals to engage individuals and families in East Liverpool. These are just some examples of how Catholic Charities is responding to hunger in our diocese.
You can get involved in food relief efforts in your community by supporting Catholic Charities Summer Hunger Campaign.
- Catholic Charities is collecting monetary donations and food for the Summer Hunger Campaign. CLICK HERE for a list of suggested food donations.
While any donation of food is greatly appreciated, a monetary gift is also an effective way to support the Summer Hunger Campaign. Catholic Charities can use a donation of $20.00 to provide a family of four with ingredients for healthy meals, along with a few other non-perishable items and snacks.
Neighbors and friends may be silently struggling to provide food for their children. Your participation in the Summer Hunger Campaign can make a difference for people in your community looking for help and hope.
- To make a donation to Catholic Charities’ Summer Hunger Campaign CLICK HERE.
- Purchase a beautiful, handmade bracelet by CLICKING HERE or downloading this FORM and mailing your information to Catholic Charities. All proceeds from bracelet sales benefit the Summer Hunger program throughout our diocese.
In the words of Mother Teresa: If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.