Food Access for the Summer, When Kids Are Out of School
For MANNA FoodBank, and our dedicated network of partner food providers across the region, summer is a busy time for getting food to families who need it—especially families with children. It is more important than ever that MANNA is able to be there for them when they turn to us, especially as more families than ever before have reached out for food support.
This is why volunteers, food donors, and community supporters have been working in overdrive mode this year to make sure our Summer Packs program can reach as many families as possible. This summer, we’re happy to report we have been serving more families than ever with this vital program that helps bridge the summertime months, when kids are away from the support of regular school meals.
Western North Carolina already faces one of the highest rates of child food insecurity in the country, and the pandemic deepened the existing gaps in thousands of families’ food budgets. The pandemic has unevenly impacted families across the mountains. Many families able to make ends meet prior to the pandemic have needed a little help, but families already facing dire economic challenges prior to the pandemic were plunged even more deeply into the spiral of poverty – and many of those families have children.
An incredible crew of volunteers, drivers, area schools and their nutrition teams, members of our partner agency network, and an incredible community of donors have all helped to ensure MANNA can provide these supplemental bags of food to more than 3,000 students a week since the start of the summer.
These bags are focused on providing not just food to families, but nutritionally dense foods, like fresh produce, to ensure that children across WNC have access to foods that support their growth, development, and long-term well-being.
Read on to discover what kinds of things go into a MANNA Summer Pack, why children across the region face such steep challenges when it comes to food access, and the wonderful community of support that, alongside you, help make a difference to thousands of children across the mountains, one plate at a time.