For way too many kids living right in our area, summertime means not knowing where their next meal is coming from. Here’s how you can help one local company provide healthy, reliable food to local kids.
With Richmond-area public schools getting ready to close up shop in a little over a week, let me throw some numbers at you.
The figures below show the percentage of students eligible for free or reduced lunch in our local school districts. These numbers were reported to the Virginia Department of Education’s Office of School Nutrition Program in October of 2014…
- Richmond City: 97.61%1
- Henrico County: 40.97%
- Chesterfield County: 33.82%
- Hanover County: 20.17%
According to No Kid Hungry, a national campaign committed to providing kids in need (and their families) with healthy food and nutrition education, one out of five children in America struggle with hunger. That’s 16 million kids. What’s more, nationwide, six out of seven low-income kids who receive free or reduced school lunch during the academic year do not have access to comparable free meals during the summer.
Put all that information together and we’re left with a heartbreaking truth: for way too many kids living right in our area, summertime doesn’t just mean freedom from school and hanging out with their friends. It also means literally not knowing where their next meal is coming from.
Each spring for the last nine years, Puritan’s 100,000 Meals for Kids Program has provided healthy, reliable food for children in our region facing food insecurity. And they’re at it again this year, collecting funds and food with the hope of increasing FeedMore’s resources in preparation for the additional needs seen in the summer months.
If you’d like to make financial contribution, you can do so right here on FeedMore’s website. Remember: $1 provides five meals. FIVE (5).
For those of you who prefer to donate food (which is a great way to involve kids, by the way), here are some of the food bank’s most needed items:
- Peanut butter
- Canned tuna and chicken
- Canned soups and stews
- Canned veggies
- Canned fruits
- Spaghetti sauce (no glass containers, please)
- Canned or dry beans
- Boxed rice
- Hot and cold cereal
- Whole grain snacks
You can drop donated food items off at any Puritan Cleaners location. Or, if you’re a Puritan Cleaners customer who takes advantage of their free home delivery services, they’ll actually pick up the donated items from your house when they drop off your clean shirts and whatnots.
For more information, visit feedmore.org.
- At the start of the 2014-2015 academic year, RPS began participating in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs called the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). This program provides free breakfast and lunch to all students enrolled in RPS, regardless of income level. ↩