Salvation Army Helps to End Summer Hunger for Children

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The statistics are staggering. Every month, more than 300,000 Canadian children are helped by food banks―a number that could fill Toronto’s Rogers Centre 10 times over.

Throughout the school year, many hungry children have access to services such as Salvation Army breakfast programs. In fact, last year The Salvation Army served 223,000 meals in schools. But when the school doors close, so do these programs.

“Breakfast and lunch programs stop when school’s out for summer, but poverty doesn’t.”

“Breakfast and lunch programs stop when school’s out for summer, but poverty doesn’t,” says Maurice Collins, ministry unit leader of Port aux Basques, N.L. “The Salvation Army believes that no child should go hungry, especially over the summer.”

This summer, The Salvation Army in Port aux Basques is partnering with Foodbanks Canada and their After the Bell program to ensure that no child in the town of 4,500 has to experience hunger.

“The Salvation Army has identified 60 vulnerable children through our family services who will receive a box of food every week for eight weeks through the summer months,” says Collins. “That will take a lot of pressure off of low-income families who might worry about where their next meal will come from and ensure the children are ready for the school year.”

Research shows that when hungry children get the nutrition they need in the summer to learn, play and grow, they will have a better start to their school year.

“Vulnerable children don’t get to choose what they eat,” says Collins. “They eat what is chosen for them. Sometimes that’s not enough or healthy. The summer lunch boxes include, non-perishable, child friendly foods supplemented with perishable foods such as cheese, fruit and vegetables.

“The community helps us to help others with food that many of us take for granted,” continues Collins. “Together, we are improving the quality of life for families who need it most.”

Meanwhile, Collins is adding other feeding programs to the fall schedule―a school lunch program and a  commercial grade kitchen that will serve healthy meals to the public, twice a week.