PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Because hunger doesn’t take a summer vacation, many low-income kids will be at risk of hunger this summer.
Over 130,000 western Pennsylvania children have access to free and reduced lunch programs at school. These school meals can mean the difference between going through a long day of trying to learn while hungry or being fueled to excel. What happens when school closes for the summer?
KDKA-TV is teaming up with Citizens Bank Foundation, and Giant Eagle to host a “Feed the Kids” summer telethon to benefit the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
If you would like to donate, click here.
Volunteers from Giant Eagle and Citizens will answer phones and take donations for the food bank until 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 31.
Citizens Bank Foundation will also match donations, dollar for dollar, up to $50,000.
With the absence of school meal programs when school break comes, summer can be a particularly challenging time for families. For parents barely making ends meet, school meals are an economic lifesaver. Area children could miss a potential sum of 8 million lunches over the summer because their families are not able to provide those additional meals.
For more than 30 years, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank has worked to provide emergency food, educate the community about food insecurity and create solutions to combat persistent local hunger.
The Food Bank has been able to increase access to nutritious food for more than 110,000 people each month who need help in an 11-county region.
Through its operations center in Duquesne, PA, the Food Bank has built an efficient system to collect, store and distribute more than two-million pounds of food and other basic necessities each month.
One critical area of need is childhood hunger.
More than 130,000 children in southwestern Pennsylvania struggle with hunger, an often invisible problem that impedes a child’s ability to focus, learn and succeed.
In fact, childhood hunger is tied to health issues like obesity, behavioral issues like ADHD and emotional issues like depression.
Childhood hunger affects job readiness later in life and adds to Pennsylvania’s alarmingly high Hunger Bill, which affects everyone.
A primary focus of the Food Bank is to remediate childhood hunger to prevent the issues associated with this social problem.
Currently, the Food Bank serves approximately 37,000 children throughout the region—just a third of the total food insecure youth population.
The Food Bank strives to dedicate more time and resources to childhood hunger initiatives in hopes of further closing this gap.
The added stress of children going hungry in the summer makes this a time for the Food Bank must collect, purchase and distribute as much extra food as possible.