The Importance of Summer Meals

As a mom, I understand the deep desire to give your kids what they need, yet even the basics are out of reach for many hard working moms and dads during the summer. When the school year takes a break, so do school meal programs and opportunities which provide children a safe place to learn, exercise and play.

United Way is bringing attention to the importance of summer meal programs and specifically the importance of accessible, healthful food and beverages. Unfortunately, in our region only about 1 out of 7 eligible kids currently receive the summer meals. That is why United Way, committed partners and volunteers work together to connect children who are particularly disadvantaged to a safe place to eat a healthy meal.

Together, we can make a difference. Whether it is advocating for better nutrition in summer programs, increasing the number of safe meal sites, volunteering our time to cook or serve meals, or donating to organizations like United Way to provide access to healthful food, we can not only fill empty bellies, but improve a child’s nutrition, health and educational success, which will benefit us all.

Meredith Chimento is the Senior Vice President of Community Impact at United Way of the Greater Capital Region. She has two elementary school-age daughters and is an active member of the Coxsackie-Athens Foundation for Education.