Here are some stats from Northwest Harvest that demonstrate the need in our community: In 2010, 451,561 children (almost half of all students) across the state were eligible for free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch during the school year. Of those children, only 9% participated in a summer meal program in 2010 (39,455 served each day at 752 sites across the state provided by 150 sponsors).
Low participation is due to many factors, including lack of meal sites, transportation, and/or knowledge that these programs are available. Recently, education budget cuts have meant that summer school is eliminated in districts, causing a ripple effect of limiting schools’ sponsorship of summer meals in those areas. This leaves a huge gap in child nutrition for the summer months.
All proceeds from the Summer Hunger Challenge will go directly to Northwest Harvest. With a network of over 325 food banks across the state, they will be able to funnel the donations to where they’re most needed. Wondering what to donate? Here are some suggestions:
• tuna fish (pop-top or pouch)
• canned soup, stew and chili (pop-top)
• canned fruit (pop-top) and applesauce
• easy mac ’n cheese
• instant rice meals
• whole or refried beans
• peanut butter
• whole-grain bars and trail mix
• single-serve cereal boxes
• shelf-stable milk
• boxed juice
Twenty schools in Western Washington have signed on to the Summer Hunger Challenge. They’ve already started collecting food and on June 1, four schools will act as drop-off sites for the community. Bins have also been set up at Sterling Savings branches across the state. Click here for a list of June 1 drop-off sites.
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