Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – During the school year, 43,000 children rely on free and reduced-price meals throughout Allegheny County. In the South Hills, nearly 4,000 kids qualify for these meals. But what happens during the summer?
During summertime, kids are spending more time at home, they don’t have access to school-based meals, and working parents struggle with the costs of providing food along with child care. In short, our kids are hungry.
This has a big impact. Hungry kids are more likely to fall behind, experience developmental delays, and face social or behavioral problems. This is why summer food programs exist for children throughout the county, though locations and transportation are barriers to many.
So, it’s not surprising that many families turn to local food pantries to put food on the table. During the summer months, however, food pantry shelves often are bare. Here at South Hills Interfaith Movement, we see that the food so generously donated by our community during the winter months has long been distributed by the time we reach July.
And right now, the need is astounding. This past June, SHIM’s three food pantries served more than 1,900 people in 592 households — a record number — all while augmenting pantry items with fresh produce from our 13 community gardens.
SHIM is not alone. The heat is on nonprofits throughout our region. Help us help the working poor among us: Make an online donation, host a food drive or drop off food items.
Learn more — and see the most-needed items — at shimcares.org.
The writer is the chair of the board of directors for the South Hills Interfaith Movement.