Seeing is Believing- After the Bell, Summer Hunger

Posted: September 13, 2017

When the final school bell rings, not all children enjoy worry free summer vacations or weekends. Food insecurity doesn’t stop with the warm temperatures or days off, or as we say “hunger doesn’t take a vacation”. Many children who participate in school breakfast and lunch programs during the school year have gaps in reliable food sources.

As the CEO for Unemployed Help Centre Inc. of Windsor, Ontario, I have had the privilege of witnessing the way the After the Bell program addresses the food gap, firsthand.

It allowed us to provide 3,200 packs to children our local children in need, for 8 weeks with nutritious kid-friendly mini-meals. The packs offer a variety of foods that they can create mini-meals during the week with items such as hummus and crackers; cereal and apple-sauce and granola bars and fruit cups. Additionally, our food bank was able to supplement each pack with fresh fruit or vegetables using funds provided to us by Food Banks Canada.

Since the participating children had already been identified as needing help through their schools, it made sense to drop off the packs to these youth on a Friday afternoon, so they would have food over the weekend.

It was so rewarding to receive great feedback from the parents such as “it relieved a lot of stress for them because they live on limited budgets” and the kids were equally thankful! When the children received their packs on Friday they enthusiastically opened them to see what was inside.  They were so excited with huge smiles on their faces with the occasional “WOW”.   Our staff and volunteers were so thankful to be able to give out the food packs and it felt so good to know they had food. 

I personally had the opportunity to attend one of the sites where the children received the packs. Seeing is believing and I could see firsthand how the children reacted to receiving a pack.  Many people do not get the opportunity to see the end result because if they did I believe children would not have to be food insecure during the summer months.

We were so excited to be able to see the benefit of our participation in this program which also allowed us to raise awareness of child hunger in Canada.   Kellogg’s Breakfasts for Better Days / Summer Hunger and French’s partnered with Food Banks Canada to make this program a reality for us and many other locations across Canada. 

We are grateful, and so were the kids

Rather than a list…what about showing how the packs help kids make nutritious mini-meals

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