Spring BREAK from Hunger

We’ve been devoting this space on Fridays to reminding people there are many children, dependent on school lunch programs, who are eating their last good meal for the next 72 hours or so. Today’s guest post, by Sarah Owen, raises further concerns about these children.



I live in paradise—or so the Chamber of Commerce tells me. 

Southwest Florida offers a tropical paradise filled with islands, palm trees, sandy beaches and balmy weather…the perfect location for a spring break and escape from reality.   Thousands of visitors flock here every spring to take a time out  from their everyday lives.

But some of our most vulnerable residents won’t be escaping from their reality of hunger over the spring vacation.  Tens of thousands of school aged children in Southwest Florida receive their only meals through the School District’s free and reduced lunch program.  But if school is out over Spring Break—Where will they eat?  Some of them will be forced to dumpster dive in local parking lots while others simply go without.

The hunger agency I work with is assisting one school over the break, supplying emergency food supplies to the families whose children normally receive our weekly Emergency Food Backpacks.  Today, hundreds of families will gather at the school to receive the much needed food to get them through the week.  But I am haunted by all the families at the other 99 schools in my community who will not receive any assistance.  After lunch this afternoon there will not be another meal available at the school for 11 days!

So as the masses of families descend on our Paradise longing for a break….masses of school children will be crying for a reprieve  from the hunger they live with everyday!   

No matter where you are this spring season, reach out to feed a child in need—they really need a BREAK!

Sarah Owen is the CEO of Community Cooperative Ministries, Inc in Fort Myers Florida.  She is a passionate hungerfighter who is dedicated to getting food into the hands of hungry children.

If you would like to use this space to discuss childhood hunger in your community, drop us a note in the comments.

Photo by nyki_m Creative Commons

4 Replies to “Spring BREAK from Hunger”

  1. Randy Moens

    We had a great spring break.  Some local churches along with one church from Sacramento, California did a Missionary Trip to Fresno (approx. 800 Missionaries).  The Fresno Bee Newspaper highlighted the event  on Saturday April 11, 2009.  We served approximately 3000 snacks through the CCNSP After-School Snack Program throught the Summer Food Service Program.

  2. Randy Moens

    In Fresno California we will be sponsoring eight Summer Food Service Program SFSP), After-School Snack Pilot (CCNSP) Sites during spring break.  Although, I would rather serve meals during "breaks" (Thanksgiving, Winter and Spring Break) SFSP Legislation does not allow this.  However, I am grateful that I can still serve snacks during this time.  During 2008/2009 one full week of Thanksgiving Break and three full weeks Winter Break, we were able to serve approximately 8000 snacks at 16 Fresno Parks and Recreation Sites.

    Lets change legislation for the SFSP and be allowed to serve children anytime when children are out of school!

  3. Kristie

    I also pass out food backpacks at the elementary school. 

    It is sad to see how much these kids love to get these food bags.  Fridays have become a special day to these kids.  The teachers have told me how excited they get when Friday comes because they know they’ll get some food to take home.  My kids have never had to go to bed hungry which is why I think it is important to remember all of the kids that do and how completely unnecessary it is in a country with so much wealth.

    Thank you to those who are not blind to this problem, but who fight for the rights of all kids to be able to do something we take for granted everyday – Eat.



    This Side of Eternity

  4. Judy

    So sad isn’t it that in this day and age children still go hungry and have to fight and hunt for food.  I really think things like the backpack program can be the answer but it has to be bigger than one school out of 100.  Thanks to agencies like Tyson and people like Sarah this is a battle being fought!

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