The new “Campaign Against Summer Hunger” aims to boost food bank donations at a time when need is highest among local children and their families.
Donations to All Faiths Food Bank drop during the summer months as seasonal residents leave town.
Unfortunately, summer is also the time when the food bank is especially hungry for donations. In Sarasota County, approximately 21,000 — or 50% of students — receive free or reduced lunches. These meals stop during the summer, when school is not in session. As a result, summer is the time when children are most likely to experience hunger.
To address the need, All Faiths Food Bank launched its first “Campaign Against Summer Hunger” April 1, which runs through May 10.
“The summer hunger issue is solvable,” said All Faiths Food Bank CEO Sandra Frank, at an April 1 press conference. “We’re going to need your help.”
The campaign encourages local residents to empty their shelves and make cash donations to combat seasonal hunger. A new website, SkipALunch.org, accepts online donations and provides additional information.
During the campaign, nonperishable food items can be dropped off at any Sarasota County Goodwill or fire station. Donors who want to have their food drive collections weighed should bring their donations to the All Faiths Food Bank.
The campaign will seek new ways to expand existing summer food assistance programs in partnership with Sarasota schools and other organizations. Options include serving food at community centers, schools and other places where children gather for scheduled activities; increasing the reach of mobile school-based pantries and backpack distribution throughout the summer; and providing food and assistance to other programs to expand their capacities.
“Food insecurities for children and families is a fact in this community,” said Teri Hansen, CEO and president of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, at the conference. “This is an opportunity for you to give from your head and your heart.”
Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected]