(WJBF) – Hunger affects many people in the CSRA. And now that school is out, many children have less access to nutritious food without school lunch.
One in eight people in the area are dealing with food insecurity. And about one in six children struggle to get enough to eat outside of school. Several local organizations are working to get food to families in need during the summer.
Donna Martin of Burke County Schools tells us she sees families struggling more and more each day.
“Food stamps have been cut for a lot of our families,” said Martin, director of the Burke County School Nutrition Program. “That has been, like, a safety net for them…the other thing is these families have been used to free breakfast and free lunch. And now they’re out for the summer and they don’t have access to those meals.”
Martin is working to provide what she calls ‘nutrition security’ for children up to eighteen years old during the summer months.
Starting Tuesday, community buses will go out on 26 routes in Burke County to provide families with seven days’ worth of breakfast and lunch.
“When you go to the grocery store, food is so much more expensive,” said Martin. “What’s great about a summer feeding program is it provides these meals to the family that helps free up their budget a little bit and allows them to pay some of their other bills.”
Golden Harvest Food Bank will work on their Backpack program through the summer months.
“Our backpack program provides food to 2,300 students across our counties in Georgia,” said Abby Muehlfeld, vice president of marketing at Golden Harvest Food Bank. “In the coming months, we’re going to be opening our volunteer center so we can bring our community in to be able to help us put together backpacks for students.”
Project Life in Augusta also provides meals.
Families in need can get meal boxes once per month, as well as clothing.
“You know, our big vision is to bring life to the city,” said Erik Sowder, director of operations at Project Life. “One way that we believe we can do that is through dignity- giving people really decent clothing at no cost. And, obviously, that allows them to put their money towards other expenses.”
Liannis Perez is a No Kid Hungry student ambassador.
She tells us the program was a huge benefit to her and her family when they moved to Burke County.
“You know how bad things can be and then you come here and you’re like, ‘wow’.” said Perez. “When describing the American Dream, this is how I would describe it. And I think it’s definitely something that needs to be done throughout the whole country.”
You can text the word ‘FOOD’ to 304-304 to set yourself up for the summer meals service provided by No Kid Hungry. For more information on food resources or how you can volunteer, visit the sites below: