The Effects of Summer Hunger

Food insecurity is particularly difficult for children. Hunger and inadequate nutrition can cause cognitive and physical impairments during critical development that lasts a lifetime. School lunches play a vital role, and during the summer months, those regular meals are unavailable. Many times, children receive their healthiest meals at school, helping support their academic achievement. According to the School Nutrition Association, children who receive school lunches consume fewer empty calories and more milk, fruit, vegetables, and fiber, thanks to the USDA’s dietary standards.

Strategies for Addressing Summer Hunger in the Community

It takes all of us to support these children when needed most. Community Food Share partners with organizations such as the Boulder Valley School District to supply the food they need to maintain summer meal programs for students and their families. Individuals like Kelly lead the charge in finding solutions to the issue at hand, and community members like you can help by raising awareness and sharing your time and resources when children need it the most. When the new school year starts, Kelly will be at Crestview Elementary, giving students and their families one less thing to worry about. Let’s take a note from Kelly’s book and leave no doubt that the children of our community know they will have food on their plates regardless of the time of year.

When Kelly brought snacks in for her son’s Kindergarten class, she was unaware of the immense impact she would end up having. The kids lit up with delight, but it was the teacher’s response that struck a chord with Kelly. “I fear this is the last meal some of these children will have through the weekend.” the teacher shared. This small interaction five years ago inspired Kelly to find the resources, support, and determination necessary to start a meal assistance program at Crestview Elementary.

Fast forward to today, the program has achieved astounding success! Over 60 children and their families receive food weekly from the program throughout he school year. This accounts for more than 15% of Crestview’s student population, who depend on the program to sustain them through the weekend.

As impactful as Kelly’s program is, the demand for assistance extends beyond this, as 25% of students rely on free or reduced-price lunches to obtain essential nutrients during each school day. With Summer break now in full swing and students home from school, children who depend on the school’s meal programs must find other ways to get the nourishment they need for healthy growth and development.

This story originally appeared in our Summer 2023 Newsletter.