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