Summer Feeding Sites Offer Free Meals to Kids
Second Harvest Food Bank Connects Families to Food
SAN JOSE, Calif., July 14, 2014– Summer can be a difficult time for families struggling to make ends meet because their children no longer have access to the free and reduced-price meals they receive at school. Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties wants local families to know there are resources available, including federally funded summer feeding sites where kids can get a free meal.
There are 68 sites in Santa Clara County and 40 sites in San Mateo County where free lunch is served to any child 18 and under. Some of the sites also offer free breakfast and an afternoon snack. The meals are provided through the federal Summer Food Service Program.
"During the school year, free or reduced-price lunch is a critical source of nutrition for one in three children in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties," said Susan Takalo, director of programs at Second Harvest Food Bank. "These free meals can help families get through the summer."
Childhood hunger is a serious problem, even in wealthy Silicon Valley. Second Harvest provides food to more than 100,000 children every single month all year long. The Food Bank partners with more than 330 nonprofit agencies to provide food at more than 770 sites, including schools, youth programs, summer camps, pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters.
Studies show that kids who don't get enough to eat suffer emotional and physical effects that can hamper their ability to do well in school and succeed later in life. They are more likely to experience anxiety and depression, to be unable to concentrate, to be sick more often, and to be overweight more than kids who get three meals a day.
Families who are struggling to put food on the table should call Second Harvest's Food Connection multilingual hotline at 800-984-3663 to learn about food-assistance programs that can help, including summer feeding sites and CalFresh (food stamps).
While the economy may be improving, Second Harvest continues to see unprecedented need. The Food Bank serves more than 250,000 people every month and distributes more than 1 million pounds of food every week.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties is the trusted leader dedicated to ending local hunger. Since its inception in 1974, Second Harvest has become one of the largest food banks in the nation, providing food to more than one quarter of a million people each month. The Food Bank mobilizes individuals, companies and community partners to connect people to the nutritious food they need. More than half of the food distributed is fresh produce. Second Harvest also plays a leading role in promoting federal nutrition programs and educating families on how to make healthier food choices. Visit www.SHFB.org to get involved.