For many children summer is a carefree time. But for thousands children in Contra Costa and Solano counties, summer can be a time of worry about how they will get enough to eat. For children living in low-income households, summer means a time with no free or reduced price lunch at school and that means added grocery expenses for their families.
Thankfully many school districts in our area offer free lunch to all children over the summer and the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano has programs throughout the year to help alleviate childhood hunger, including Food for Children, Farm 2 Kids, and the School Pantry Program.
These programs exist because hunger doesn’t take a summer vacation and that’s why your support is so important.
Together we can feed the children in our community this summer and all year long.
Summer Hunger Facts
- 1 in 4 of those served at emergency food programs in Contra Costa and Solano counties are children.
- The equivalent of more than 625,000 meals will be distributed through Food for Children this summer. Through this program over 1,100 families with four and five year-old children receive a 30 pound box of iron-rich, high-protein foods each month.
- Farm 2 Kids distributions take place at 88 sites are run by after-school program staff and provide bags of fresh fruit and vegetables to over 9,400 children a week. This summer, 1.7 million pounds of produce will be given out through Farm 2 Kids.
- Demand for fresh produce grows each year. Through our network of 180 partner agencies over 750,000 pounds of fresh produce will be distributed.
Read stories below about families who have received assistance through programs and services of the Food Bank. Real names are not used.
Gita and her husband, parents of three, did it right, but still ended up at the Food Bank.
“They tell you: go to school, get your degree and those careers will be open and they weren’t,” says Gita. She has a psychology degree from University of California at Berkeley. She stays home to care for their young children and her husband has a full time job, but they are burdened with crushing student loan debt.
“There is a sense of feeling dependent and I think that’s not something any of us want to feel,” adds Gita. Of the Food Bank she says, “It keeps us afloat and at the end of the day, that’s what we really need.”
Three years ago Lori went through a very difficult divorce and found herself in financial trouble and needing to take care of her two children (then ages 9 and 11). She worked as a nurse for elderly needing in-home care, but has been off work since August on disability, which means money is very tight.
The healthy vegetables, rice, cereal, apples, sweet potatoes and other staples she gets from the Food Bank are a huge nutrition boost to her and her children – and it means she can actually afford to buy meat on occasion. Simply being able to get milk is a huge relief.
Lori stresses that she appreciates every bit of the help she gets, and she feels it is teaching her kids how to share, be humble, conquer their fears and not be afraid to ask for help. She says their faces light up on days she picks up food, they are so excited to get the healthy yogurts, fruits and veggies she is able to bring home.She gives back by volunteering in her community including at the pantry where she gets her food.
How Can I Help?
During the hot months of summer, our donations tend to slow down just as more neighbors need us most. We prepare as best we can for these lean summer months. But the demand keeps growing and we really need your help to feed the people who depend on the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano and our partner agencies. Drop off nonperishable food items at one of the Food Bank warehouses or in collection barrels around town. Find a barrel at www.foodbankccs.org/ongoingdrives.