by Tom Sine
Can Your Church Respond?
This spring, as parents across the country lost their jobs and schools closed their doors, the number of households with children who weren’t getting enough food due to a lack of resources surged. In April, about 41% of mothers with children under 13 reported recent food insecurity, the highest level since at least 2001, according to an analysis of survey data from the Brookings Institution. The nonprofit Feeding America projects reports that some 18 million children could be food insecure in 2020…
Congress took some early steps to address childhood food insecurity during the pandemic, but with need soaring, nutrition advocates say more support is required to address child hunger over the summer and throughout the economic crisis.
‘What we are staring at is extraordinarily high rates of childhood food insecurity now, even with an ongoing policy response,” says Lauren Bauer, an economics fellow at the Brookings Institution who conducted the Brookings analysis. “And looking toward the summer… I anticipate that childhood food insecurity is going to get worse.’”
The same thing is happening now, nutrition advocates say.
‘It’s not as easy to reach kids when you don’t have a captive audience in the cafeteria,’ says Crystal Fitzsimons, who directs the center’s work on child food assistance programs. ‘For example, there’s transportation barriers, families need to know where they can access meals, (and) the hours need to work for families so that they can pick them up.’”
First Day of Kid’s Summer Lunch Program!
Felicia is a 17-year-old with a “can do” attitude who, with her grandmother Ella, organized to host a large number of kids in their community whose families have very limited resources to feed themselves during this pandemic. This is a very welcomed new program hosted by First Methodist Church in Pittsfield, MA.
Share Summer Meals Program in Vancouver, WA has worked out an arrangement with St Joseph’s Catholic Church to use their kitchen as well as enlist some of their members to prepare thousands of grab-n-go meals from June 22 to August 14 to respond to the needs of 20,000 children in Clark County. All children under 18 are welcomed to a grab-n-go meal. They even provide transportation to the kids that need it.
Church Opportunity for Summer 2020
Since many families all over the the US have been counting on school feeding programs, many parents were not prepared for what to do when it ended. It is important to realize there is no certainty of how long the present level of government assistance to those who have lost their jobs will continue.
Fortunately, there are a number of churches and non-profits in many parts of the United States that have stepped in to fill the gap. It is not too late for your church to join this 2020 summer opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of kids where you live.
Join your neighbors all over America and put those under-utilized church kitchens to work with those who are creating Grab-N-Go Meals for kids in your community and see the difference you can make in the lives of kids where you live in these troubled times!
We would love to hear and share your stories. Email us.
PRE-ORDER~ Tom Sine and Dwight Friesen’s book called 2020s Foresight: Three Vital Practices for Thriving in a Decade of Accelerating Change will be released in September 2020 by Fortress Press.