Summer break is usually thought of as a time for freedom and fun. But for some families it comes with different considerations around having less structure, and for others, stress around providing meals for their kids who normally get free or reduced lunch at school.
Feeding America® works year-round to provide meals to families in every county in the country. Brandless is helping spread the word about the increase in need to provide meals for kids during summer break. We wanted to share a few of the stories about the people who have benefited from the work of Feeding America when it comes to closing the gap this summer.
My name is Zoey and I’m 11 years old. I live in Maine with my mom and my brother Zeus. My mom works really hard to make sure me and Zeus have a roof over our head and enough to eat. When we’re eating, she’ll make sure we eat first and are full. Then if there’s leftovers she’ll make dinner for herself. She works from home, but I know it’s still a struggle.
During the school year, I get free lunch and breakfast at school, which helps my mom make sure we have enough food for the weekends. But during the summer when school is out, we don’t have those meals, so instead we go to the free lunch program.
I love the free lunch program. I go every day. They serve us turkey and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, apples, carrots and broccoli. It’s really good food that gives me the energy I need to be active and play with my friends. It also helps my mom not stress, because she doesn’t have to worry about finding money to feed us extra meals during the summer.
Without the lunch program, I would be sad. I’m really happy that we have it. To everyone who makes it possible I want to say thank you. Because you’re making kids like me happy and our parents happy too, by making it easier for all of us to get enough to eat.
I grew up very poor. I’ve come along way since then, but it’s been a journey.
When I first married my husband about 13 years ago, he couldn’t find work, so I was the only one with a job. We relied on food pantries just to make ends meet. I remember being pregnant and standing in line in the snow. I was cold and uncomfortable, but I had to stand there because we didn’t have any money. If I didn’t, we wouldn’t eat.
Those were humbling times. I’m grateful that we’ve moved forward. My husband and I both work now – I own a food truck, actually – and we have three children: Paul, who is in fourth grade, Rosa, who is in second, and TJ, who is in kindergarten. All three of them attend school at Edison Elementary here in Salt Lake City.
A few years ago, a mobile food pantry started coming to Edison Elementary. I was thrilled because I thought volunteering at the pantry would be a great way to pay it forward and help others like we’d been helped. Also, even though we’re doing better, owning my own business, things still get tight sometimes, so taking extra food home is a big help.
I love seeing the faces of the kids and families when the mobile pantry arrives. The children are so excited, and families are grateful. This school is in a low-income neighborhood. I know families struggle to get enough to eat, and that without this pantry, some of them would go without food. I see myself in a lot of these moms. It makes me feel good to give them food, because I know personally how much of a difference it makes.
I feel blessed that with some extra support, my family has been able to rise above many of our struggles. But I’ll never forget where I came from, and because of that, I’ll never stop giving back.
From 12:00am PST on 6/3/2019 until 11:59pm PST on 6/10/2019, for each online purchase on brandless.com that uses the promo code KIDS, Brandless, Inc. will donate one product to Feeding America. Brandless, Inc. will donate a maximum of 10,000 products for the use of promo code KIDS. Offer valid from 6/3/2019 until 11:59pm PST on 6/10/2019 or until maximum is reached. No cash value. Promotion codes cannot be combined with other promotional offers.