Thursday, July 26, 2012 11:51 am
For kids, summer usually means lazy days filled with swimming, riding bikes, and staying up late. But for too many kids, summer can also mean hunger. When kids aren’t in school, they aren’t eating breakfast or lunch at school, so kids who qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches are even more likely to miss meals during summer. While Springfield Public Schools offers free meals to anyone under 18 through its Summer Food Service Program, it’s simply not enough to meet all of the need, says Sharon Brown, executive director of Kumler Outreach Ministries in Springfield. During the summer months, Kumler attempts to fill the gap by doing neighborhood food drives – going door-to-door, asking for food donations – and through a project called Pantry Partners. The project assigns local businesses, churches and other organizations a specific item to collect for a month, alleviating pressure on Kumler to collect those items. “I think it’s important for people to realize that hunger is around us 365 days a year,” Brown says. “It’s not just the poorest of the poor.” For more information, visit www.kumlerministries.org.