Almost all of the students in School City of East Chicago qualify for free or reduced-prices on their school breakfasts and lunches. However, that does not mean that these students are sufficiently fed during the summer. Thanks to the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana and FEC, all they have to do is show up at their local Summer Food Service Program distribution center to receive nutritious meals during their break.
The Summer Food Service Program, SFSP, is a Food Bank of NWI program funded by FEC. This program is a division of the organization’s larger Youth Hungry Relief program. It allows students from low-income families to receive a cold breakfast and hot lunch every Monday-Friday throughout their summer vacation from school. This ensures that students will not go hungry, even during times when the school breakfast and lunch programs are not operating.
The summer meals are distributed to students through collaborative organizations such as the Salvation Army and United Neighborhood Organizations Inc. These organizations already offer programs for students on summer break. The SFSP is implemented through these preexisting programs so students do not have to go out of their way to get fed.
A total of 225 students under the age of 18 receive meals from this program throughout the summer. However, that’s not all that SFSP does. The program also offers educational, nutritional and recreational activities for families that work to spread knowledge to ultimately reduce the number of hungry children in East Chicago. These activities also work to bridge the educational gap that hungry students may experience as a result of decreased concentration in school due to hunger.
The SFSP along with the other programs implemented by the Food Bank of NWI are some examples of ways that local volunteers and organizations can help end hunger in the community. For more information on how to combat hunger in the region, go to www.foodbanknwi.org.