SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - For kids, summer means no more pencils, no more books, but also the end of free regular meals.
One local organization is doing everything it can to make sure no kids go hungry these next few months.
All Faiths Food Bank works to keep Suncoast families fed year round, but it recently raised more than a million dollars to buy all of this which will supply close to 40,000 students during the summer months.
“During the school year, we’re just right under 50% of our students being eligible for a free or reduced meal, so about 1 of every 2 students," Sara Dan said.
It’s for those kids that this program was made for six years ago. The campaign against summer hunger raises funds and donations to allow breakfast and lunch to be delivered daily throughout June, July and August. “Over 200 partners this year, helping us make sure that our can students get the food they need to thrive," Sandra Frank said.
There are 43 weekly mobile meal sites with an additional 118 backpack distributions with nutritious food and another 54 where the school district has hot meals for students.
“It’s no questions asked. 18 years or younger, and you have to eat the food on site, but any family can take their children to an open site and receive a free meal," Dan said.
Organizers say the bottom line is that children should not wonder where their next meal is coming from, and that this doesn’t put them in danger if their families struggle with the added expense when school ends.
“We are very very blessed in this community. It’s an incredibly generous place that we live in," Frank said. "They’re understanding that child hunger is a real thing here, and how the whole community steps up to make sure that children receive the food they need during the summer months.”