Op-Ed: Find ways to keep children fed all summer long

pen on newspaper

The Almanac – Despite the beauty and prosperity in our community, poverty is hidden in the shadows.

Many families in our community struggle to make ends meet. They are working hard to put food on the table for their children, but many still need a hand to help ensure their kids are getting three healthy meals a day.

That is where free and reduced lunches at school can really make a difference in a family’s food budget.

State Rep. Dan Miller, D-Mt. Lebanon, brought this issue to light in an Op-Ed in The Almanac, “It’s time to end ‘lunch shaming’ at schools,” two weeks ago. We saw his story and were inspired to continue the conversation as we head into summer.

When we think of summer, we often think of sunny days with outside playtime, vacations and bike rides.

For many families in the South Hills, however, summer isn’t a vacation.

It’s when costs mount, as working parents struggle to keep their children safe, fed, and engaged when school isn’t in session.

There are 4,000 students throughout the South Hills eligible for free or reduced lunch, many of whom might not even be enrolled because of the shame that Rep. Miller noted in his piece.

Yet, that still means 4,000 children right here in our community need a little help to have three healthy meals a day.

But in the summer, school lunches and breakfasts aren’t available, leaving struggling families with the need to put food on the table more than double their normal amount.

As summer approaches and schools begin letting out, take a moment to think about your neighbors. Consider if you were in their shoes and you were finding it hard to feed your family.

We can help. We can work together as a community to make sure no child goes to bed hungry this summer in the South Hills.

Let’s make the South Hills the best place it can be for all of our community members – especially our children.

For more information about Bethel Park-based South Hills Interfaith Movement, go online to www.shimcares.org or call 412-854-9120.

By Jim Guffey
Executive director of SHIM

writer@thealmanac.net

Read the full story here.