What Programs Combat Childhood Hunger in the Summer? (by Vicki Lee)

canned food

Introduction:

As part of my experience of volunteering this term at the Oregon Food Bank, I was able to work 4 shifts giving my just over 8 hours.  Lots of packing and prepping food to be disbursed to smaller pantries around the state.  I was able to see how the process worked as a huge organization.  it started to make me think more able a smaller individual group who is effected by the food bank.

My individual group  I started my focus on were the children.  Most of the schools provide meals to children while they are attending schools.  These meals are either free or reduced price depending on your household income and family size.  This led me to my question in regards to children during summer months, or on non-school days.  What programs do we offer?  If any, what and how are they available?  Bringing awareness to the local communities in regards to child hunger and give them the opportunity to get more involved.

The research collection:

“NEW REPORT FINDS CHILDREN STILL FEELING RECESSION’S IMPACT.” States News Service 20 Dec. 2011. Academic OneFile. Web. 28 May 2016.

This article is about how the recession has taken a toll on children and families.  Families are currently trying to live off Supplemental Nutruiton Food Services (SNAP), and that is if they family qualify for them.  Currently 16 million children live in poverty, that is roughly one in five children.  In Oregon we have 23% of our children living at poverty level.

Garcia, Elbert. “Cities can use summer meals program to close nutrition gap when school is out.” Nation’s Cities Weekly 13 Feb. 2012: 8. Academic OneFile. Web. 28 May 2016

This article is basically about how the federal government has received a grant and is going to use it to help with the fight against child hunger.  Over 21 million kids in our country are taking advantage of the free or reduced lunches during the school year.  However, one in seven kids will use it during the summer time.  They feel they need to get more people involved and bring awareness.  Kids need the right amount of nutritional intake to be successful in school.  A Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is set up to help children fight against the child hunger.

Bole, Kristen. “So children won’t go without summer meals.” Food and Nutrition Mar. 1992: 24+. Academic OneFile. Web. 28 May 2016.

This article mentions an example of how people working together can make a difference.  In Los Angeles in a community, they have during the school year almost all of their kids on the free meal program.  The location is in a low income area, and kids would go hungry otherwise.  During the summer months it is important for them to touch every kid in there school and make sure they are getting the right amount of nutrition. It is an “off-track” program which makes sure kids are getting at least 2 meals a day.

Ferguson, Sarah. “For children, access to nourishing meals shouldn’t come to an end during summer vacation.” School Administrator Feb. 2008: 11. Academic OneFile. Web. 28 May 2016.

This article is a basically about how we need to continue the availability to nutritious foods to children the same way we do during the school year.  Mentioned in this article we have 17% of the children who participate during the school year stay involved during the summer.  So what is happening the the other 83% of children?  Are they not receiving adequate amounts of food during the summer months?  Again it mentions the Summer Food Service Program being actively involved in these food programs for the fight of child hunger.

Public Writing:

Fighting Child Hunger

We live in one of the most beautiful areas in the country.  Covered with bright green trees,  mountain range visible on either your left or your right.  We have rain or liquid sunshine, and sunshine.  We live in the beautiful state of Oregon.  Just recently I learned about a serious problem we have in our beautiful state, child hunger.  I recently started volunteering at the Oregon Food Bank.  While volunteering I knew we had a statewide issue with hunger, but recently looked deeper and saw how much children are going hungry.  In one shift I worked 2.5 hours and in this time we packaged over 40,000 pounds of food to be disbursed to smaller pantries and food banks around the state.  Our state obviously has a hunger problem and I’m sure a lot of people are unaware of it.

In Oregon we have 270,000 people who are eating from emergency food boxes according to the Oregon Food Bank.  Among this number, 92,000 of them are children.  Children who go hungry are negatively impacted to learning, health, productivity and potential.  Children who are suffering from hunger can be malnourished, which can lead to irreversible health problems.  Also, children can have difficulty learning in school.

Currently in school around Oregon, they offer free and reduced lunches to children who qualify based upon income.  Most schools offer breakfast and lunch with meals meeting the federal nutrition guidelines.  While the income guidelines are set at a certain income level, what about the kids who don’t qualify?  They may not be getting fed just because their parents make more money.  With the current cost of living going up people are barely getting by to survive, let alone be able to feed there kids because they make to much money.  Some schools will offer a backpack program.  This program is set up to send home a backpack full of food with children on Friday’s, so they have food over the weekend.  While we have these programs set up during the school year, the focus needs to be on the summer months as well.

In the summer, Oregon does have a Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) to help children fight against child hunger.  Currently one in seven kids use this program during the summer months according to SFSP.  Around the state, they will have daily lunches Monday through Friday.  Again children who qualify and are under the age of 18 can get these summer lunches.  For more information of locations near you, you can visit there website: www.summerfoodoregon.org.  Having lack of nutrition during the summer months in children sets up for poor performance for them at the beginning of the year.  Being able to have a program like this helps children get through the summer.

As mentioned before in Oregon we currently have 92,000 children living off of food boxes offered by the Oregon Food Bank.  In Oregon, 23% of our children live at the poverty level according to Children first for Oregon progress report.  This is a very high percentage, and people need to be more aware.  Awareness to people brings understanding, which leads to helping and changing.

Now we are aware of child hunger being a major problem in our state.  You may ask what you can do to help or contribute.

How to get involved in fighting child hunger:

Get involved at a local food bank or pantry.  These places are usually non-profit and are always looking for the extra help.

Give a cash donation towards the fighting children hunger.  If you can’t physically help or find the time to help.  They always will accept a cash donation.

Check with your local schools.  See if they have any programs to help with fighting child hunger.  Some schools may do the backpack program over the weekend.  Kids don’t go hungry while not at school.

Contacting the Summer Food Service Program at www.summerfoodoregon.org they are always looking for help in all areas.

Most important be aware.  Again, awareness brings understanding, which leads to helping and changing.

You can always read the research on child hunger in the state of Oregon.  The amount of information you will find is neverending, hopefully I’ve got you curious of this state problem and you now want to look to get involved.

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4 comments

  1. Great job on your blog entry Vicki! You’ve really provided a wealth of information and you also did an excellent job describing your volunteer experience with the Food Bank. This is something that I really meant to mention much more in my blog post! I enjoyed my volunteer experience at The Children’s Book Bank, but you can’t really tell that since I didn’t give an in depth explanation of what that was like. Unfortunately, I started with information about why it is important to support Head Start programs, which The Children’s Book Bank gifts many of their books to.
    The only information that might have made your blog post more convincing is if you had mentioned why these emergency boxes are so important, since some people who need food immediately may not have access to things like food stamps or WIC. Mentioning something about this counter argument would have strengthened your appeal.
    There were a few awkward sentences that could have used revising, but I could still tell what you meant to say, so it wasn’t anything overwhelming.
    I can tell that you put in a good amount of work on this blog entry and I hope it helps convince people to volunteer or donate towards the cause!

  2. Tina Bach

    Feedback:

    Hi Vicki,
    Your blog is very insightful about the issue of child hunger. I’ve known about the ongoing issue of hunger in general throughout our population, especially in Oregon, but I was never aware that so many children are affected as well. I think the reduced lunch and backpack programs are a great way to help feed the children, because as adults, we are more educated to know how to get the help we need, but for children even if they are hungry or starving, they would not know how to get the extra help. It’s great to know that you are so passionate about this issue in our community and thanks for bringing forth this to our awareness.

    A few things I just want to point out regarding your post. Though it is very insightful and informative, i would recommend that you reread your writing. I noticed a lot of grammatical and spelling errors that could be easily fixed. However, the resources you gave on how to get involved was to the point and easy to understand and follow. Good job on your project!

  3. Tina Bach

    Hi Vicki,
    Your blog is very insightful about the issue of child hunger. I’ve known about the ongoing issue of hunger in general throughout our population, especially in Oregon, but I was never aware that so many children are affected as well. I think the reduced lunch and backpack programs are a great way to help feed the children, because as adults, we are more educated to know how to get the help we need, but for children even if they are hungry or starving, they would not know how to get the extra help. It’s great to know that you are so passionate about this issue in our community and thanks for bringing forth this to our awareness.
    A few things I just want to point out regarding your post. Though it is very insightful and informative, i would recommend that you reread your writing. I noticed a lot of grammatical and spelling errors that could be easily fixed. The resources you gave on how to get involved was to the point and easy to understand and follow. Good job on your project!

  4. Tina Bach

    Hi Vicki,
    Your blog is very insightful about the issue of child hunger. I’ve known about the ongoing issue of hunger in general throughout our population, especially in Oregon, but I was never aware that so many children are affected as well. I think the reduced lunch and backpack programs are a great way to help feed the children, because as adults, we are more educated to know how to get the help we need, but for children even if they are hungry or starving, they would not know how to get the extra help. It’s great to know that you are so passionate about this issue in our community and thanks for bringing forth this to our awareness.

    A few things I just want to point out regarding your post. Though it is very insightful and informative, i would recommend that you reread your writing. I noticed a lot of grammatical and spelling errors that could be easily fixed. The resources you gave on how to get involved was to the point and easy to understand and follow. Good job on your project!

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