OPELIKA, Ala (WRBL) – If you’re struggling to feed your kids and teens, you’re not alone. 12-million children in the United States are food insecure.
Experts say hunger is likely impacting our neighborhoods, maybe our neighbors. Last year, Opelika City School’s USDA Summer Feeding Program served around 10,000 meals to children and teens 18 and under. Local school districts are doing their best to step in and fill in the gap during the summer months.
“We are very excited this summer to once again do the summer feeding program. We have three local schools this year. In the first year, we had one, so we have expanded it to serve meals at Carver Primary, Jeter Primary and Opelika High School,” shared Opelika City Schools, Becky Brown.
For the one in six children who are food insecure, the school year is not just about learning, the classroom is a consistent food source. Summertime is worse for hungry children because they can no longer count on going to school, where a hot breakfast and lunch, as well as weekend backpack programs, keep their stomachs from growling.
“We are seeing a need for that during the summer. So we are pleased to partner with the USDA and prepare meals for kids. You do not have to be an Opelika School Student, you don’t even have to live in this area. As long as you are 18 and under, you can come to have a hot meal with us,” said Brown.
Many families who struggle with food shortages are unaware of nearby summer feeding programs. Awareness is spreading thanks to a simple texting service sponsored by “No Kid Hungry” – a national campaign run by Share Our Strength, a nonprofit working to solve problems of hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world.
To find your nearest summer feeding location, just text ‘food’ to 877-877. A message will respond, asking for your address or zip code. When you send in your zip code, you will get a reply text showing you nearby free feeding locations, along with the address, hours of operation and contact information.