MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — It may be hard for some to believe that in this day and age, in this country, some kids may be going without food.
“The big picture is that 1 in 4 children go without food–or without enough nutrition,” said Feeding the Gulf Coast’s Michael Ledger. 1 in 4 food-insecure children equates to more than 100 thousand children that don’t have access to adequate food and nutrition.
What many people may not know is that during the school year, Mobile County Public School students get breakfast and lunch provided. But the summer presents a whole new set of problems.
For the past few years, Mobile County Public Schools along with Feeding the Gulf Coast have been able to make sure kids are fed through the summer.
“Supporters like Feeding the Gulf Coast provide food bags for students and families in need even if they’re not part of the summer school program,” said Alexis Greer. She’s the school counselor at George Hall Elementary in the Maysville community.
Mobile County operates one of the largest summer feeding programs in the state. Along with feeding students enrolled in summer school activities on campuses—buses have been sent to various neighborhoods to drop off meals for kids. Meals have also been provided to pick up by parents from schools. But none of this is easy.
“We put out nearly 1.7 million meals and snacks to children last year to give you an idea—and there’s more need that we’re trying to reach every day,” said Ledger.
To make matters worse, when the pandemic caused schools to close and left kids at home, without access to the cafeteria, the U.S. Department of Agriculture was allowed to extend waivers and extra funding to allow school systems flexibility to get food to kids–during the school year, the summer, on holidays and even weekends. But those waivers and funding are set to run out at the end of June unless Congress acts.
“That’s why programs like Feeding the Gulf Coast and the Friday Food Bag program and donations from community supporters are vital for ensuring that our students have food every day and especially on the weekends and long weekends and holidays,” said Greer.
That’s why this initiative ‘Stock the Pantry’ is even more important now. We’re simply asking you our viewers and anyone else who can donate food that will go to Feeding the Gulf Coast, and ultimately to children who need it.
Barrels have been placed at sponsor locations and other locations throughout the area to collect donated items. There are also some suggestions for the types of food to donate, basically foods that kids can access immediately that they like and is good for them. You can visit this link for that information.