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Five Reasons Why You Should Care about Child Hunger

For thousands of children in need in our community, summer meals are a lifeline.

Presented by All Faiths Food Bank March 24, 2022

For many families, summer is a time for fun, outdoor activities, and vacations together. But the summer months can be especially difficult for the children of families struggling to put food on the table, as they lose access to free and reduced-cost meals at school as well as on-site pantries that provide nutritional assistance over the weekends. This summer, 40,000 children in Sarasota and DeSoto counties are at risk of hunger.

All Faiths Food Bank’s Campaign Against Summer Hunger has become the community’s strongest line of defense against child hunger. Through the food bank’s supporters, partners and summer programs, All Faiths works hard to make sure children receive the help they need.

1. Hunger Impacts a Child’s Future Prospects for Success
Hunger relief isn’t just an issue of easing the aching discomfort in the “here and now.” Hunger deprives children of more than just food, resulting in learning delays, psychological distress, and behavioral problems that can impact a child’s growth, development and health. Hunger-related toxic stress can negatively affect brain development and severe hunger can lead to chronic illnesses well down the road. 

Growing children need access to good nutrition to develop properly, avoid illness, and be able to focus when they are in the classroom. Kids need access to healthy foods throughout the year.

2. Too Many Families Are Still Suffering from Pandemic Impacts
The pandemic has increased food insecurity among families with children and communities of color, and rural communities have been especially hard-hit by hunger. Millions of people in America are one job loss, missed paycheck, or medical emergency away from hunger. Some groups – such as children and seniors – are particularly vulnerable. Now, as the cost of living surges in the face of growing inflation, many families are working harder than ever to make ends meet; too many are struggling, unsuccessfully, to do so.

According to Feeding America, the number of children facing hunger in the U.S. rose during the pandemic: from 10 million in 2019 to nearly 12 million in 2020.

3. With Community Support, More than 34,000 Students Were Fed in 2021
Last year, the match contributed by investors was $800,000 and the total funds raised over $2 million; with this vital support, All Faiths was able to serve 34,069 students and siblings 3,175,762 meals, through 341 programs and partners.

Over the past eight years, the Campaign has raised a gratifying total of more than $12 million to feed kids over the summer as well as in the spring of 2020, when schools were closed due to COVID-19.

4. Your Gift Will Be Doubled
The Campaign Against Summer Hunger, which launched in 2014, involves behind-the-scenes fundraising to compile a six-figure match and then a community campaign that lasts from April 1 – May 15. All Faiths Food Bank is grateful that lead investors Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, Gulf Coast Community Foundation and the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee are returning again in 2022 to continue their steadfast support of the Campaign.

This year, through the generosity of investors, there is a $900,000 challenge match to inspire community donors to participate. All gifts are appreciated and every dollar makes a difference.

5. Anyone Can Be a Hunger Hero for Children
This community has always stepped up to the awesome responsibility of ensuring that our neighbors – our children – receive the nourishment they need, so that they can enjoy a healthy, happy summer and be prepared for their re-entry into school in the fall.

Donors of all levels are encouraged to consider adding their support for All Faiths Food Bank’s Campaign between April 1 and May 15, so that thousands of students and siblings who may otherwise go hungry can be helped. It's easy and donations of any amount make a difference. Hunger heroes are encouraged to:

  • Make a donation that will be doubled through the dollar-for-dollar match
  • Host a virtual fundraiser
  • Encourage your family, co-workers, friends and neighbors to give

We hope you will visit allfaithsfoodbank.org for more information and to make a gift.