School closures are challenging for anyone experiencing them during the pandemic. But for low-income families with food-insecure children, it can be more than one big, long inconvenience: It can be harmful.
Throughout a given school year, more than 30 million students participate in the National School Lunch Program, which provides free or reduced meals for children from low-income families, or who are homeless or in the foster care system. Although many school districts are making efforts to find ways to continue providing meals for these students, the food is often distributed in the middle of the day, which means a caregiver would need to get them to school to collect it.
For many families right now, that simply isn’t feasible. So these kids need our help to ensure they can keep eating regular, nutritional meals for the duration of the coronavirus outbreak.
If you really want to make an impact, start by looking within your own community. Check out the website of your local food bank, as well as their social media pages, to see what their biggest current needs are. You can also start a Facebook fundraiser for your local food bank to give them an extra boost.
Seek out information from your child’s school district, too, about what methods administrators are implementing to provide kids with access to meals. Encourage them to come up with innovative ways to continue reaching children, such as through drive-thru grab-and-go meal stations at a variety of locations or by having bus drivers drop off meals along their regular routes.
Share the #SAVEWITHSTORIES campaign
Actors Jennifer Garner and Amy Adams have launched #SAVEWITHSTORIES to support Save the Children and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry program. Garner and Adams are sharing their favourite children’s books on Instagram and Facebook—along with other famous folks—to spread awareness and drive donations to the organisations. You can donate directly to the campaign here or make a one-time $US10 ($17) donation by texting SAVE to 20222.
According to the program’s website, here’s how those donations will help support children who are losing access to healthy meals during school closures:
No Kid Hungry has a plan to ensure they have access to meals by providing emergency grants to food banks and community groups, urging Congress to boost SNAP funding for low-income families, diverting resources to the hardest-hit communities, helping families find meals while schools are closed and continuing its work to ensure every kid gets three meals a day.
In addition, Save the Children has committed to providing books, learning activities, games and toys to children whose schools are closed in low-income communities.
Support Feeding America
To help support food banks across the country, you can also donate to Feeding America, a nationwide network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs.
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