Summer feeding programs confront food insecurity

Published 3:40 pm Sunday, June 4, 2023

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An Editorial Opinion of The Greenville Advocate

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), child hunger is one of Alabama’s biggest problems, with one in four children classified as food insecure, meaning these children are unsure where their next meal will come from.

Some Alabama children, often those in rural areas, lack ready access to nutritious meals. This is why school systems in Butler Lowndes and Crenshaw Counties are offering summer feeding programs, to ensure hungry children have access to the food they need.

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Butler County Schools host a program as part of Alabama’s Break For a Plate initiative, offering free meals to children and teens through most of June and July.

Students can come to their local Butler County School or one of six other community sites for meals on Monday through Thursday each week.

According to the ADPH, school aged children experiencing food insecurity could be as much as two years behind their classmates because hunger makes children two times more likely to suffer from illness. Hunger impacts these children physically, emotionally, academically, and psychologically.

Crenshaw County Schools offers dine-in, carry-out, or bulk meal pickup from county schools and other community sites, making sure children in need have access to breakfast and lunch even when schools are closed for the summer.

Many people of all ages enjoy eating, savoring favorite desserts and delicacies, sharing meals and memories with family and friends. It is heartbreaking to realize that one in every four community children may go to bed hungry at night, depending on their local school for the only consistent nutrition they receive.

Lowndes County Schools feed local children in the summer and take a different approach by hosting summer school enrichment programs. Most children in the school’s system attend the program and eat breakfast and lunch at school throughout the summer months.

Recently a community member expressed appreciation for summer feeding programs.

“I’m glad they do that,” she said.

It is good that schools have access to funding which supports summer feeding programs. As heartbreaking as it seems to image, we all know children in need of food assistance. Community members have an opportunity to help children access these programs by offering to transport children to a feeding site.

For more information, contact the Butler County Schools office at (334) 382-2665.