All Faiths Food Bank works to end Sarasota child hunger with summer program.
When we think of starving children, we are often met with images of hungry children in Africa or Syria, but thinking of the children close to home can sometimes slip our minds.
That’s why All Faiths Food Bank aims to feed 40,000 Sarasota children this summer with its Campaign Against Summer Hunger, for which it recently raised $1.4 million.
“When school ends, hunger begins for 20,000-plus children in Sarasota,” said Sandra Frank, All Faiths Food Bank CEO. All Faiths aims to feed not just the 21,000 students already in school, but their younger siblings as well.
In Sarasota, 50% of children rely on free and reduced lunch during the school year, which means breakfast is 30 cents, lunch is 40 cents or free depending on the income requirements.
Teaming up with Sarasota County Schools, the Food and Nutrition Services will provide hot meals Monday through Thursday at 50 sites until Aug. 2. Meal choices include options such as grilled chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, crispy chicken, baked beans, green beans and carrots and dip.
Funded through the United States Department of Agriculture, Summer Food Service Program, FNS is anticipating serving 60,000 breakfasts and 105,000 lunches.
All Faiths Food Bank will also utilize other avenues to feed local children like its mobile pantry and backpack program.
“It’s not obvious. It’s very sensitive. It’s very confidential. We don’t want any kids to feel stigmatized,” Frank said. “So they just quietly grab (a food) bag, and they put in their very own backpack like any other kid would. And that’s what we want.”
While Sarasota County School’s program ends on Aug. 2 to give it time to prep for the school year, All Faiths will continue the backpack program into the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.
A list of all pantry and school sites can be found at: https://www.allfaithsfoodbank.org/foodfinder/