Originally found in DuBose Heyward’s novel Porgy and subsequent play of the same name, and set to music by Ira Gershwin, this line from “Summertime” from the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess has made its way into popular culture. Often quoted, it has become a catchphrase for the joys and easy of the more relaxed way of life summer brings to the typical American.
However, for our clients and their children, summer is anything but easy. Summer too often becomes a time of anxiety, uncertainty, and hunger. According to hunger-relief charity Feeding America, 2012 statistics indicate that while 31 million low-income children received free or reduced priced meals during the school day throughout the school year, only 2.5 million of those participated in the Summer Food Service Program. Transportation issues, lack of a nearby program – these and many other factors contribute to their inability to participate.
Food banks, pantries, and soup kitchens report seeing greatly increased numbers of children amongst their visitors in the summer. The average pantry in the Feeding America network reports a 32% increase in the number of children visiting over the summer months. Here at Food for Fairview we too see an increase in the number of children served.
Each summer, we carve out a space in the pantry specifically designed to accommodate the needs of the increased number of children. We stock items such as peanut butter, canned pasta, and granola bars for lunch and pop tarts and cereal for breakfast. This program costs us an additional $8.00 per child per week. Since 38% of our clients – 324 children in 2013 – are children, this program, as you can imagine, gets expensive. Further, at the end of each summer, we endeavor to provide each child we serve with basic school supplies as they head back to school in the fall, with a cost to us of $8.00 per child.
You can help us put the fun back into summer for the kids of our community. We are now accepting donations of “kid-friendly” items such as peanut butter, canned pasta, and granola bars for our special kids’ summer section of the pantry.
Or if you’d prefer, we would also appreciate age-appropriate school supplies. Easier yet, your donation of just $8.00 could feed a hungry child for a week or provide basic school supplies for a child for the upcoming school year.
We know our caring community will give generously to help its children, and we thank you in advance for your support!
Courtesy of The Fairview Town Crier