Maryland kids who normally have breakfast and lunch at school face unique challenges during the summer. In 2012, Giant Food and the Maryland Food Bank came together to create Summer Clubs, a program designed to combat summer hunger by providing meals to food-insecure kids in safe and fun places across the state.
Most kids count down the number of days left in the school year, looking forward to the sun, and carefree fun of summer vacation. But for far too many kids in Maryland, summertime means missing meals, and the possibility of falling further behind their food-secure peers academically when they return to school in the fall.
Thanks to the more than 50 recreation centers, faith-based organizations, and community organizations serving as partners in the Summer Club Program effort, food-insecure kids in Maryland will have somewhere to go this summer to get the nutrition they so desperately need.
Summer Hunger in Anne Arundel County
The Wiley H. Bates Club, part of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Annapolis, is one of our 2017 summer club sites.
“Some of our members come from challenged homes that may not always have money or means to provide lunch,” said Kenneth Starkes, director of the Bates Club. “The meals given to our members from the Maryland Food Bank may be the only opportunity for breakfast and/or lunch.”
While we are grateful to our Summer Club partners, there is much more work to be done to reach the thousands of kids across the state who want to enjoy break without worrying about hunger.
Here are 5 ways you can help end summer hunger
Set up a “Fight Summer Hunger” lemonade stand.
Having your kids make and sell homemade lemonade and donate the proceeds is a win-win: your kids learn the value of empathy and philanthropy, and your donations will help provide nutritious meals to food-insecure kids.
Host a virtual food drive. It’s easier than ever to donate food with MFB’s innovative virtual food drive online platform. You can help your neighbors in need without lugging heavy boxes of food around in the summer heat!
Glean produce earmarked for MFB. You can be part of our Farm to Food Bank Program, which helps ensure kids can access fresh fruits and vegetables all summer long.
Start a themed fundraiser. Whether you set up a personal page to celebrate a birthday, or a team page to honor a loved one, your online fundraiser is only limited by your imagination.
Volunteer at MFB. Whether its sorting shelf-stable food in our warehouse or helping to prepare meals in our community kitchen, you can beat the summer heat and child hunger at the same time by signing up for a shift.
On June 19, Maryland First Lady Yumi Hogan helped us kick off our Summer Club Program by serving lunch and visiting with the children at the Wiley H. Bates Boys & Girls Club in Annapolis.
Through this program, MFB will help food-insecure kids bridge the gap until the 2017-18 school year begins by supplying approximately 10,000 meals a week to sites across central Maryland and the Eastern Shore.