Kids can’t be kids when they’re hungry

Hermes, 6, receives summer meals at a park near his home.

From crisp greens to protein-packed staples like peanut butter, a well-rounded diet is critical to the health and wellness of our youngest neighbors. So is school. But when school ends, so do the breakfast and lunch programs these young scholars rely on for nourishment.

The reality of childhood hunger

According to the USDA’s last national study in 2022, 17% of households with kids under 18 wrestle with food insecurity. That means 13 million kids and teens nationwide are facing hunger. And in 2023, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that childhood poverty had more than doubled, due in part to record inflation. Paired with our own data modeling, which shows that one third of zip codes in our service area have a food insecurity rate of 12% or higher, it’s clear that our youngest neighbors need our help now more than ever.

Kids who experience food insecurity frequently have poor academic performance, developmental differences and increased health problems. That’s why Feed More’s Children’s Programs work hard all year long to eliminate barriers to accessing healthy foods. Your kindness enables nutritious meals and healthy snacks at after-school sites, along with Weekend BackPacks and targeted mobile distributions for kids and teens all across Central Virginia.

Here are just a few ways we get healthy food to our young neighbors when the school year ends:

  • School Markets: Think fun, farmers market-style distributions staffed by teachers and faculty at 16 elementary schools across our region. These monthly markets provide students with a variety of food for wholesome meals. It’s also a thoughtful way for teachers and guidance counselors to engage with parents and caregivers.
  • Summer Food Service Program: With sites across greater Richmond and the Tri-Cities, this program provides kids and teens with healthy, and reliable, breakfast and lunch meals at camps, community and rec centers, all summer long.
  • Feed More Freddie: This big green beauty hits the road several days a week. Designed for kids (no parents allowed), young people grab a reusable bag and shop for the healthy food they want. Dignity and insight into healthy food “littles” will eat is the magic behind this amazingly effective program.

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