Stopping Hunger with Summer Meals
|New Haven's Free Summer Meals program sends food trucks to parks and playgrounds. Image Source: End Hunger Connecticut!
When classes let out in June, children who depend on school breakfasts and lunches are at risk of going hungry. End Hunger Connecticut! leads a statewide campaign to prevent this suffering by helping schools keep cafeterias open and offering free meals throughout the summer.
"We work with the school districts to make sure they can offer the meal programs in a sustainable way so they aren't there one day and gone the next," says End Hunger Connecticut! Chief Strategy Officer Shannon Yearwood.
While the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture funds the summer meals program, a big effort on the ground is needed to not only prepare and serve the food but also advertise the program to families who would benefit. The recent Summer Meals Blitz Day brought out volunteer canvassers to neighborhoods throughout New Haven.
"The best way to do this work is to have a strong word of mouth. We are talking in the neighborhoods and handing out information about where families can bring their kids," says Yearwood.
New Haven's free summer meals program is the state's largest, with ninety sites planned for this summer. In addition to serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner at schools, the New Haven Public Schools has a fleet of vans and food trucks that deliver food to parks and playgrounds.
No proof of income or ID is necessary for the summer meals program, but the meals must be eaten on site.
To find a free meal site closest to you, visit http://www.endhungerct.org/summer-meals/ or call 211.
End Hunger Connecticut! is also behind the effort to assist schools with providing free breakfast to all students.
"If you come to school hungry you are at a disadvantage," says Yearwood.
End Hunger Connecticut! also runs a call center for helping qualifying individuals apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), otherwise known as food stamps.
For more information about the End Hunger Connecticut!, visit its profile on giveGreater.org.
Did you know?
60 percent of New Haven Public Schools students are eligible for free and reduced lunch. Source: End Hunger Connecticut!
This story is part of the Inspiration Monday story series produced by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.