Graduation season often marks the beginning of the end, it signifies that summer is near and the school year is rapidly coming to an end. Summer marks the start of sun and fun for children all over the nation. It’s the season for vacations and family reunions. It’s a time where parents have enrolled their children in summer programs or have them spending time with relatives, anything to keep the kids busy and out of trouble.
There is another side to summer, that I think many of us do not consider. For many hardworking parents, summer brings a stressful time where utility bills and the family food budget increases. These families often do not have the resources that allow them to send their children to summer camp therefore that must remain home alone or care for their younger siblings. Where children previously attended school for approximately 7 hours a day, these hours are now spent at home. This increase can be detrimental to families’ who are already experiencing financially stressful situations.
For some children, the end of the school year marks the end of having at least two guaranteed meals a day. Nearly 60% of all children enrolled in the public school systems of Florida are eligible to participate in the nation’s free or reduced lunch program. The numbers are equally alarming throughout other states. So I know what you are thinking if they qualify for free lunch; shouldn’t they qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. I thought the same thing too, the short answer is no. Parents living just a tad above the poverty line (Please note that these are honest and earnest hardworking citizens) may not receive the amount of assistance needed to supplement their family’s nutritional needs.
The good news is that there are resources available to families in need. The Summer Food Service Program. The SFSP allows those low-income children access to meals that are nutritious during the summer break through a free summer lunch program. There are also non-profit organizations such as We Care Now that offer programs and resources that allow parents the opportunity to care for their family’s needs through education, information, and financial support. Please consider partnering with our organization, let’s work together to build a stronger community.