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Kids Need Hunger Heroes This Summer to Help Provide Meals When School is Out

Philabundance is urging neighbors to take action because hunger does not take a vacation 

Philadelphia, Pa.- June 10, 2013– Summer in the Delaware Valley is fast approaching and while many families are looking forward to vacation, thousands of families are scrambling to figure out how to put food on the table over the next few months. Philabundance, the Delaware Valley’s largest hunger relief organization, is gearing-up to provide more food to families with children this summer and is looking for community support in the form of Hunger Heroes.

There are more than 325,000 children in the Delaware Valley who are eligible for free and reduced meals in school.  About 258,000 of those children live in Pennsylvania and more than 68,000 children live in New Jersey all within Philabundance’s nine county service area in the Delaware Valley. These families rely on free and reduced meals during the school year and without access to those meals, it will be a challenge to ensure there is food on the table this summer. Philabundance and hunger relief organizations across the region see an increase in need from the families who can’t afford to cover the additional meals.  In the summer, food donations are down, while there is increased need for food assistance, which puts greater strain on the charitable food network.  This basic necessity of providing food can seem like a daunting task when faced with a small food budget which is why Philabundance needs community support this summer.

“Summer is a tough month for families in our region, as well as for the hunger relief organizations trying to keep up with the ever increasing demand,” said Bill Clark, president and executive director of Philabundance. “A family of four with two school-aged children who participate in the school meals program needs to provide 80 additional meals, equaling more than $200, every month this summer, which is just not feasible for many families across the Delaware Valley. But because of local hunger heroes, we can truly make a difference in the lives of children who are in need.”

Philabundance put together an extensive Hunger Hero toolkit to help educate kids on the issue of hunger in a child friendly manner. The toolkit also offers ideas and resources to help families fight hunger.  Neighbors interested in being a Hunger Hero can fight hunger in a number of ways by visiting www.philabundance.org/summerhunger.

The toolkit includes:

–          A summer food drive guide: Where to hold one and what types food to donate

–          Summer reading list: Hunger related stories for all ages

–          A how-to guide on talking to your kids about hunger

–          The Hunger Hero Comic Strip: Tell us about your Hunger Hero by illustrating the comic strip and posting it to Philabundance’s Facebook wall, facebook.com/Philabundance

Other ways to get involved:

–          Family Keepsakes 4 Kids- June 15 through August 19th participating local ceramics and paint-your-own pottery studios will offer specific items where a portion of the proceeds will be given directly to Philabundance.

–          Sign up for the Hunger Heroes Family Volunteer Night on Tuesday, August 13

–          Attend the third annual Phans Feeding Families tent party and purchase a commemorative pin

–          Participate in Share the Harvest by donating surplus produce from your home garden at 12 locations across the Delaware Valley.

–          Hold a Virtual Food Drive

–          Eat at 10 Arts Bistro & Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia and order the Philabundance Burger. $1 from every purchase will be donated to Philabundance.

In an effort to focus on elevating children’s hunger this summer, Philabundance will also be distributing food through the KidsBites program which is held at Lowell Elementary School in the Olney section of Philadelphia. This monthly food distribution was established through Target’s Meals for Minds program with support from Sunoco, BNY Mellon, First Hospital Foundation, W.W. Smith Charitable Trusts, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Aberdeen Asset Management, Morgan Stanley, Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation, Union Benevolent Association and Dermody Properties Foundation in September 2012. Johnson & Johnson generously donated 8,000 bags of kid-friendly food, packed by their own employees to be distributed over the summer months at Lowell and Fresh For All sites. Philabundance’s Fresh For All programs will also be distributing these kid-friendly bags throughout the summer.

More than half of all households served through Philabundance’s Fresh For All program and Community Food Center have children in them. Children make up 23 percent of those served through Philabundance’s neighborhood network of nearly 500 agencies including food pantries, shelters and emergency kitchens. Read Janine Erato’s blog on her personal experience with childhood hunger and how one person can be a hero and make a difference.

If you or someone you know is struggling this summer, please call Philabundance’s Food Help Line, 800-319-Food (3663). Visit www.philabundance.org/FreshForAll to find Fresh For All locations to get free produce. Visit www.philabundance.org/summerhunger for more resources.

If you are looking for ways to give back, www.philabundance.org/summerhunger can help you find the opportunity that is right for you. Whether you hold a cereal drive or volunteer at Philabundance’s Hunger Relief Center, you will make a difference. Donating money also helps because Philabundance can provide two meals for one dollar.

For more information, please visit www.philabundance.org or call 215-339-0900.

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About Philabundance

Philabundance reduces hunger and food insecurity in the Delaware Valley by providing food access to people in need in partnership with organizations and individuals. Philabundance provides a full plate of services through neighborhood distribution programs and a network of close to 500 member agencies in 9 counties. Philabundance serves approximately 65,000 people per week at a cost of 50 cents per meal. There are more than 900,000 people in the Delaware Valley who are at risk for chronic hunger and malnutrition. In 2012, Philabundance distributed nearly 25 million pounds of food. For more information about Philabundance, visit www.philabundance.org or call 215-339-0900. Visit us on Facebook, Facebook.com/Philabundance and follow us on Twitter, Twitter.com/Philabundance. If you or someone you know is in need of food assistance, please call Philabundance’s Food Help Line, 800-319-Food (3663).

 

 

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