When Andrea* moved to Schuylerville with her family, her husband was receiving life-saving dialysis treatments and unable to work, her car was in need of major repairs, and her full-time job just wasn’t enough to make ends meet. There were many times when she worried about how she would feed her three young children – especially during summertime when they could no longer eat breakfast and lunch at school.
Food insecurity affects thousands of children in the Greater Capital Region. This is a significant problem because it negatively impacts a child’s ability to learn and grow. Research shows that children who miss meals are more likely to be sick, disruptive, inattentive, and score lower on achievement tests.
More than 42,000 children are eligible for free or reduced price meals during the school year, but the need still exists in the summer months. Proper and consistent nourishment throughout the summer is essential to ensure students return to school ready to learn.
Fortunately for Andrea, and thousands of other families in the Capital Region, the Summer Meals Collaborative was there to provide nutritious meals for her children. The Collaborative works to provide free, healthful meals and snacks at more than 90 sites to help children in low-income areas get the nutrition they need.
Launched and led by the United Way, the Summer Meals Collaborative is a partnership of health and human service providers, policy advocates, and government agencies that operate the area’s summer meals program. In 2018 alone, the Collaborative aims to serve approximately 215,000 meals.
Since the collaborative was launched in 2014, United Way-funded sponsors have increased their number of meals served by approximately 200%. In a recent announcement, Hannaford Supermarkets pledged a $125,000 donation to the United Way to assist with child nutrition efforts – which will fund outreach and engagement, learning programs, and help the United Way reach its goal of increasing the number of meals served by partner agencies.
This donation, along with others, will have a significant positive impact on the summer meals program. It will help families in the Greater Capital Region, just like Andrea’s, gain access to healthy meals.
But more needs to be done. It’s estimated that only 9.5% of the children in need in our community are currently being served. That means there are a lot of kids in our community who still struggle with hunger. The United Way wants to continue to innovate and collaborate to reduce food insecurity in the summer for children – and you can make an impact today by donating and partnering with us!
"When I got the call about the program, I was so relieved I cried,” said Andrea. “This program helped us get through the summer. I am so thankful for this community and the program. It is helping us get through a tough time and reach a brighter future."
Do you know someone who is struggling with hunger?
Help have a meal served! Donate today and help end child hunger in our community. www.unitedtoconquer.org
*Name changed to protect the family’s privacy.