RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – One in four children will soon be hungry. That's according to new statistics released this week from the USDA.
Hungry children are often provided breakfast and lunch at school, then on the weekends, the Food Bank can send home healthy meals with lots of them, but summer is coming up and those kids won't have the same access to food.
"The heart-breaking thing is that we know there are at least 5,000 chronically hungry children in our area. Chronically hungry means they don't know where their next meal is coming from," said Gayle Haglund with FeedMore.
Right now, thousands of children in our community count on the free and reduced lunch program for healthy meals. In addition, every Friday, the Food Bank is providing 800 sacks of food to kids in need.
"There's 18 items that are shelf sustainable, child friendly, easily opened by a kid, and can be used to provide their nutritional meals for a weekend," said Haglund.
But school is almost out, and now the Food Bank is gearing up to provide 150,000 meals to children this summer. They work with schools and community organizations like Parks and Rec to do so.
"If we don't provide or someone doesn't provide an intervention strategy that these kids are really going to grow up not as strong in mind and body as they could be," Haglund said.
The statistics are already scary and on track to get worse, with 25 percent of kids food insecure.
"One in four. It's astounding, and we believe by 2011, possibly 2012, that will actually be our statistic. That's not every neighborhood, but when you average it out over the nation it certainly will be true in a lot of pockets in our area," Haglund said.
The Food Bank is happy to accept donations of either money or food. When it comes to kids though, be sure to think about the nutritional value.